Friday, March 22, 2013

McCrory's budget slices conservation funds

Gov. Pat McCrory's first budget cuts conservation funding so deeply it could affect the state's economy, says Land for Tomorrow, a coalition of pro-conservation groups.

The proposed budget cuts:

-- The Clean Water Management Trust Fund to $6.75 million from $10.75 million this year, and includes an appropriation only for the first year of the biennial budget. The grandaddy of North Carolina conservation funds, Clean Water once got $100 million a year.

-- The state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to $15.5 million from $27.5 million.

-- The Natural Heritage Trust Fund to $4.23 million from $9.9 million. The budget also removes the fund's dedicated funding, a portion of the deed stamp tax.

Advocates have pointed lately to conservation spending's effects on the North Carolina economy, including the creation of new state parks, 250,000 acres of state gamelands and protection of the borders of Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune.

"The creation and consistent funding of North Carolina's conservation trust funds have been the result of bipartisan leadership over the past 25 years," said Katherine Skinner, executive director of the Nature Conservancy in the state. “These land protection successes have played a major
role in the state’s economy – boosting agriculture, the military, tourism, forestry, hunting,
fishing and outdoor recreation. As our economy continues to recover, we need to
continue a strong investment in these economic drivers. Gov. McCrory’s proposed
budget doesn’t reflect the level of investment needed to carry us forward.”

Stay tuned for how legislators respond.


Nate said...

It's shocking that, even after the economic impact study showed that money spent on state parks is returned to the economy by a significant margin, that this would happen.

Well, I guess shocking and this GA are no longer unexpected.

That study:

Daveevad said...

The land trust is one of many potential good things State government can do. However, the State can't spend money it doesn't have in order to accomplish them.

In an environment where state taxes are already higher than every other state in the Southeast, and major cost cutting is needed in order to balance the budget, it may be necessary to defer the land trust expenditure. I acknowledge that land transfers must be made when the seller is willing to sell - and I don't support exercising eminent domain for this purpose - but it isn't appropriate to break the bank to accomplish the purpose.

Investment for the future is valid - but pay the bills first.

Anonymous said...

I understand that these folks are trying to defend their budgets from likely cuts but wouldnt it be a wonderful read if a govt dept. head said we know times have been tight and we will do the best we can to maximize the available funds and will use this as an opportunity to uncover new efficiencies.

Mark Schmerling said...

I suppose the anti-environmental folks in the state assembly need this extra money to give away as tax subsidies to the gas-drilling industry, which they welcome with open arms.

Anonymous said...

We take so many things for granted ... like good health ... clean water.
Cutting the budget on clean water ... sad.

Anonymous said...

How much of the budget goes to general and administrative? Lots of top-heavy, bloated govt agencies with a wonderful mission statement to provide cover these days.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you elect a republican. Cut the defenseless: Schools, public lands, the poor. Incredible.

Anonymous said...

5:50 -

We can't afford it right now.

Anonymous said...

"McCrory recommended eliminating the estate tax, a $52 million a year cut in state revenues, but avoided the larger tax overhaul efforts he pitched on the campaign trail." By

The estate tax is paid by the wealthiest in NC, so who does the gov really care about, his rich friends, and not the common citizen.

"The Republican’s cabinet makes a combined $1.1 million – an 8 percent increase from his Democratic predecessor."

Mccrory gives his cabinet a raise while he cuts the budget on other important item because of lack of money ! He is setting double standards for the common working citizen and his own friends. Gov, you are NOT a fair person.

Anonymous said...

Many of the elderly wealthy take their spending power to Florida to avoid NC taxes.