Legislative Fund cuts
While I typically don’t advocate either way for legislation, I am very concerned with Amendment A05143 to House Bill 1822 which will impact local business that rely on our natural resources. Over the past 3 years, Headwaters Charitable Trust has hired technical firms, construction companies and ordered a supply chain of materials to the tune of $1.3M that have a direct economic impact on Pennsylvania’s economy. The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund are among 8 state environmentally-focused special funds targeted as not being allocated for distribution. State agencies would be forbidden to enter into contracts to make environmental investments using money in these special funds until the Governor ends the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
People also need clean air and water more than ever to keep us healthy and strong when faced with viral threats like the coronavirus. It is absurdity to prevent investments in cleaning up our rivers, lakes, and streams–in protecting our drinking water–now or at any time.
COVID-19 has demonstrated that these investments are needed more than ever. We need continuing and enhanced investments to improve to improve recreational and water resource infrastructure. We sure shouldn’t be cutting these investments. There will be guaranteed direct and indirect impacts to many Pennsylvanians that rely on our natural resource, agricultural and health related industries. It doesn’t make sense to prohibit funding these particular economic drivers that are creating and sustaining jobs.
Please contact your state representatives, most importantly Republican state representatives (who are in the majority), and tell them you oppose Amendment A05143 to House Bill 1822. Please do so today.
It is unnecessary to prohibit new state expenditures on conservation. The amendment is transparently negative to environmental concerns. It would apply to only 16 of the state’s special funds (of which there are far more than 100), eight of which are major vehicles for making state investments in protecting and restoring our environment.
As conversations begin regarding infrastructure investments to stimulate the battered economy, it is crazy to attack Pennsylvania’s incredibly productive investments in environmental infrastructure that time and again prove their environmental and economic benefits to Pennsylvanians.
Amendment A05143 was introduced by the chairman of Pennsylvania’s House Appropriations Committee, Representative Stan Saylor (R-York). (The bill that is the subject of the amendment, HB 1822, is not of concern. That bill is a legislative priority for some because it aims to improve an existing low-interest loan program for small municipalities.)