(HARRISBURG, PA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Pennsylvania Executive Director, Harry Campbell, issued the following statement in response to proposed budget cuts to vital tax credit programs that benefit Pennsylvania farmers and clean water efforts throughout the Commonwealth.
Of particular concern is the proposed cut of Pennsylvania's Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP). The Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program provides tax credits to farmers and businesses in exchange for establishing agricultural conservation practices on Pennsylvania farms.
"The REAP tax credits are used to offset a portion of the farmer's expense of making on-farm improvements that benefit both their bottom line and water quality. These improvements include things like reducing the manure that runs into streams and rivers, planting forested streamside buffers, converting traditional plowing methods to no-till cultivation, and many others.
"The $10 million public investment in the REAP tax credit program, and the private investments that are required from farmers to receive the credits, have resulted in cleaner water and more profitable farms. The success of the program is evident as each year since it began farmer interest has exceeded the available budget.
"This program is an important component of Pennsylvania's clean water blueprint to reduce pollution and restore Pennsylvania's rivers and streams. CBF calls on the General Assembly to maintain existing funding for REAP."