After delivering his condition of the state speech Tuesday, Governor Branstad released his proposed FY 2014 budget, which the 150 members of the legislature will spend this session debating (and probably adjusting quite a bit). The budget is an exercise in give and take, and we thought we’d illustrate that by preparing a comparison of how this the proposed budget for next year compares to the budget for this year:
- The Governor proposed $3.1 million more to operate and maintain the state parks, but proposed $5 million less to complete lake restoration projects at public lakes, which are a main attraction at many state parks. Lake restoration projects dredge silt and complete other water quality improvement projects at public lakes, and they include steps to try to keep problems from coming back.
- The Governor proposed $500,000 more in funding for 5 new livestock facility inspectors, but that’s less staff than DNR says are needed.
- The Governor proposed $1 million less for funding to remove dangerous low-head dams and improve recreational access to Iowa’s rivers. (This means these efforts are set to receive $0 next year.)
- The Governor proposed $2.4 million more in new funding to support Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy (increasing to $4.4 million the year after next). But the Governor proposed $1 million less for the Watershed Improvement Review Board, which makes grants for local watershed improvement projects. (This would provide the Board no new funds for grants in 2014.)
- Mostly, the budget is the same as last year’s to operate the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, but both agencies will receive less than in previous years. Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, which provides funds for a great variety of parks, recreation, and resource protection projects all over Iowa, is slated to receive $12 million this year, same as last year, as well, but less than the $20 million the program was designed to receive.
Got that all figured out? Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted on what you need to know. To receive detailed information about next year’s budget and other legislative action on environmental issues, be sure to sign up for the Council’s e-mails. Our Legislative News Bulletin reports action at the statehouse week by week, and our Action Alerts allow you to contact your legislators to speak up when important decisions are being made.