On July 10, Governor Corbett signed the 2014-15 budget (House Bill 2328) and fiscal code (House Bill 278), line item-vetoed specific legislative appropriations and placed legislative spending initiatives into budgetary reserves.
On June 30, the Pennsylvania Senate (26-24) and House (108-95), passed this Republican-written budget. (In subsequent days, the General Assembly also passed the fiscal code, legislation important to implementing the budget.)
The budget leaves the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund untouched. Likewise, farmland preservation and Growing Greener. These conservation investment programs will continue to deliver lasting results in 2014-15.
Thanks to everyone who reached out to their legislators regarding conservation funding! Your outreach made a difference.
Legislators who advocated for conservation funding deserve thanks. Please take a few minutes today to write a THANK YOU LETTER or make a THANK YOU CALL to your legislators who expressed support for conservation funding when you were reaching out to them. They need to hear from you that their support is appreciated. (Note that given the political complexities, a yes or no vote on the budget is not fair gauge of conservation support.)
Other features of the budget include the following:
- The budget pattern of funding an increasing share of DCNR operations via the Oil and Gas Lease Fund rather than general tax revenues continued. (The Oil and Gas Lease Fund is where lease payments and royalties from drilling on State Forests are deposited.)
- $95 million in revenue from additional leasing of State Forest and State Park for no surface disturbance gas extraction was budgeted. Additional leasing that does not include the right to surface disturbance is consistent with Governor Corbett’s new executive order regarding leasing.
- REAP and historic preservation tax credits were left in place.
- $500,000 was cut from the line item for the Delaware River Basin Commission.
- The Heritage Areas Program line item in DCNR was increased by the General Assembly from the Governor’s originally proposed $2.5 million to $2.75 million. The Governor subsequently line-item vetoed $500,000 of this line item–one veto among many $10s of millions of vetoes made to budget expenditures passed by the General Assembly.