(HARRISBURG, PA)—Harry Campbell, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in Pennsylvania, issued this statement in response to a "Taxpayers' Budget" proposed by some Republican lawmakers in the state House of Representatives. The proposal would shift funds from multiple clean water and conservation funds, to the Commonwealth's General Fund.
The House is seeking $2.2 billion in revenue to balance the $32 billion spending plan approved by the legislature earlier this summer. The "Taxpayers' Budget" is a counter-proposal to a revenue plan approved earlier by the state Senate.
Mr. Campbell said:
"The Pennsylvania Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is concerned any time that investments in restoring and protecting our rivers and streams might be threatened. That appears to be the case with the Taxpayers' Budget, as it would shift funds from so many conservation programs.
"This proposal comes at a time when Pennsylvania is already significantly behind in meeting its clean water commitments. The spending plan exacerbates the Commonwealth's trend of underfunding pollution reduction efforts.
"Affected by the Taxpayers' Budget are the Conservation District, and the Environmental Stewardship funds, the highly successful Resource Enhancement and Protection tax credit program, and others.
"CBF believes in the value of offering cost-share and tax incentives for designing and installing practices that keep soil and nutrients on the farm instead of in the water, reduce flooding, and protect sources of drinking water. The benefits support our farmers, our health, and our quality of life.
"CBF looks forward to continuing to work with legislators to ensure that a legacy of clean water is in our future. The Commonwealth cannot afford to further divert funding away from restoring and protecting its natural resources and the welfare of Pennsylvanians."