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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In Pennsylvania

State Budget Proposal Guts Key Green Infrastructure Programs

Wednesday, September 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has proposed gutting several programs that support tree plantings and other forms of green infrastructure projects in its latest budget revenue proposal HB 453.

The proposal takes funds from several “special” funds (the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund, the Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund and the Agriculture Conservation Easement Fund) that are used to fund multi-year green infrastructure projects. Many of the projects already have contracts signed and some are already underway. This budget proposal would halt current projects and eliminate funding for future projects.

And the proposal only would provide a one-time revenue boost for the state general fund, because once the money is gone, it’s gone.

Budget Background

To refresh your memory, facing a $2.1 billion structural budget deficit, the General Assembly passed the spending portion of the budget back in June, but did not pass the revenue portion of the budget. Governor Wolf allowed the spending portion of the budget to become law without his signature, hoping that the General Assembly would come through with the revenue portion to balance the budget without undue delay.

But as of this week, no revenue bill has been passed by both houses. The Senate rejected the House bill, HB 453 Wednesday. There may be a conference committee to work out differences between the House and Senate. Legislative leadership has set September 30 as a deadline to complete a balanced budget.

Danger Remains

There is danger that the House version of the budget could make it through the conference committee, stripping the funds for green infrastructure projects. Please click here to email your state representative and state senator and ask them to keep the funding intact for tree plantings and green infrastructure projects.

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