Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Governor's Budget Cuts Environment Again, Keystone Fund Zeroed Out For DCNR

Gov. Corbett presented his budget proposal to a joint session of the Senate and House this morning proposing a $27.1 billion General Fund budget, a 0.1 percent cut from the FY 2011-12 budget, which features significant cuts to higher eduction, but no tax increases as he promised.  (text of speech)
            The Governor now estimates FY 2011-12 will end with a $719 million deficit, up from the $500 million projected earlier.  The Governor also said he did not include transportation funding proposals in his budget, which he said would be dealt with separately.
            In addition to more cuts to every environmental agency, the proposed budget would eliminate the transfer of any funds to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund which last year made $36.1 million available to the agency for grants and facility improvements.
            Click Here for full budget proposal.  Click Here for line-item spreadsheet. Click Here for budget slide presentation.  Click Here for more on the overall budget proposal.
            "Last year, we accomplished much of real consequence. For the first time in 40 years, we spent less,'' Corbett said. "Pennsylvania took its first steps toward changing the culture of tax and spend. Together, we showed we can make reforms that count. It is time to show citizens, weary of empty promises…that we can accomplish more.
            "Today I bring before you a budget grounded in difficult realities but framed in the optimism that we are solving our problems,'' Corbett said. "Once again, revenues do not match mandated, escalating costs. That means we must continue the course bravely charted by this assembly in the year just passed.''
            The $27.14 billion proposal maintains Corbett's commitment to balance the state budget. The budget closes a projected revenue shortfall of more than $700 million and reduces spending by more than $20 million. It meets the state's pension obligations and does not raise taxes for residents or businesses.
            "Every dollar taken in tax is one less dollar in the hands of a job-holder or a job-creator,'' Corbett said. "We will not spend more than we have. We will not raise taxes. We can't ask people to travel the road to recovery and then turn around and add to the burden they must carry along the way.''
            Most importantly, this year's budget begins to transform the way government delivers products and services through greater use of block grants giving greater control and flexibility to the recipients, including local governments, community organizations and school districts.
            More Budget Details
            The Governor's budget proposal would make these changes to environmental agency programs:

General Fund - Cut $76.8 Million - 57.7 percent - $56.2 million (cuts due to decreases to Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania line items moved to the Race Horse Development Fund)
Conservation Districts - Cut $10,000 - 1 percent - $1,019,000
Nutrient Management Fund - Cut $27,000 - 1 percent - $2.7 million
Agricultural Research, Hardwoods Research & Promotion, Agricultural Promotion, Education and Exports - zeroed out.
Resource Enhancement and Protection Tax Credit - $10 million, same as last year
(Note: Film Production Tax Credit - $60 million, same as last year)
Growing Greener Funding- $2.7 million, down from $5.1 million
Conservation and Natural Resources
General Fund - Cut $2.5 Million - 4.6 percent - $52.7 million
State Park Operations - Cut $1.3 million
State Forest Operations - Cut $382,000
Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund - zeroed out, no transfers to DCNR for grants, a cut of $36.1 million
Growing Greener Funding- $ $5.7 million, down from $19 million
Oil & Gas Fund - $69.5 million for DCNR, State Parks Operations, down from $79.5 million from last year, no transfer to General Fund
Environmental Protection
General Fund - Cut $10.5 million - 7.8 percent - $124.8 million
General Government Operations - Cut $108,000 - 1 percent - $10.6 million
Environmental Program Management - Cut $3 million - 11 percent - $24.9 percent
Environmental Protection Operations - Cut $3.5 million - 4.6 percent - $74.5 million
Black Fly Control - Cut $103,000 - 3 percent
West Nile Virus Control - Cut $118,000 - 3 percent
Sewage Planning Grants - zeroed out - $779,000
Sewage Facilities Enforcement Grants - zeroed out - $2.5 million
Ohio River Basin Commission - zeroed out - $13,000
Susquehanna River Basin Commission - Cut $64,000 - 10 percent
Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission - Cut $7,000 - 4.9 percent
Conservation District - Cut $29,000 - 1 percent - $2.8 million
Alternative Energy Production Tax Credit - $7 million, $2 million more than last year
Growing Greener Funding- $8.9 million, down from $40.9 million from last year
Recycling Fund - $38.2 million would be available, down from $46.7 million last year
PA Infrastructure Investment Authority
Growing Greener Funding- $5.6 million, down from $8.1 million from last year

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