- State News
- Gas Industry
Session Daze: Budget Update
June 18, 2012
Harrisburg insider talk of an "early budget" has quietly dissipated due to lack of agreement between Gov. Corbett and Republican legislative leaders on the overall spending level in the budget. Senate and House Republican leaders agreed on a $27.656 billion General Fund budget. However, Gov. Corbett is trying to drive this overall spending number down by several hundred million dollars in these negotiations.
There is encouraging news in the drive to restore dedicated funding for the Keystone Fund, farmland preservation, and the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) program — all programs that Gov. Corbett wants to permanently eliminate. But the fate of these valuable programs could hinge on these negotiations and the amount of extra spending cuts that may be needed in the final budget agreement.
Legislative leaders are advising their members to plan be in Harrisburg on Monday thru Friday of next week, and seven days a week starting Monday, June 25, until the budget and related bills are passed. PennFuture will be working and being your watchdog over these important sessions and negotiations around the clock, andPolicy Director Steve Stroman is making his own very special preparations for the long days and nights ahead.
The Pennsylvania conservation community continues to work extremely hard to make sure the full restoration of funding for the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund remains in the final budget. The House, led by Majority Appropriations Chair Bill Adolph, R-Delaware, unanimously restored funding for Keystone. There is strong bipartisan support for Keystone in the Senate as well, but all of us who support conserving and investing in Penn's Woods need to keep pushing.
There is also encouraging news in the effort to preserve dedicated funding for Pennsylvania's nationally recognized farmland preservation program, but, as is the case for Keystone, the program remains in danger until the final budget and Fiscal Code bills are passed and signed.
Over 2,000 farm families who want to participate in the program are on a waiting list. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board announced that the program had protected another 2,389 acres of farmland on 28 farms.
PennFuture is working nonstop with legislators and a wide range of businesses and other organizations to preserve funding for Pennsylvania's Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) program.
AFIG has been a great program with statewide benefits, including:
- helping to reduce Pennsylvania's dependence on foreign oil,
- stimulating tens of millions in private investment in emerging fuel technologies such as electric vehicles and biodiesel, and
- improving our air quality by cutting emissions of carbon monoxide, particulates and carbon dioxide among other pollutants.
Promoting alternative fuels also helps reduce high gasoline prices. Please take action to preserve funding for AFIG by contacting your legislators through PennFuture's website.
Philly poised to approve landmark benchmarking bill
Philadelphia City Council is set to vote on energy benchmarking legislation next Thursday after approving several amendments sponsored by Council member Blondell Reynolds-Brown. Energy benchmarking requires owners of large buildings to disclose energy cost information to potential buyers. This legislation will encourage building owners and managers to better manage their energy usage and make buildings more efficient.
Great news from Down Under
The Pew Environment Group reported this morning that Australia will create the world's largest system of marine parks, circling the entire country. This is a major victory in the campaign to protect the Coral Sea, one of the last of the globe's intact tropical ocean ecosystems. The marine areas around Australia are home to many endangered species including the pygmy blue whale, Australian sea lion, and green turtle.
Doing well by doing right
On Thursday, June 21, our friends at Sustainable Pittsburgh, Breathe Project, and Phipps Conservatory will hold aspecial conference for business leaders, "Smart Energy Use for a Healthier Business Climate and Clean Air," from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Phipps. The agenda is chockfull of great speakers and panelists with great case studies and information, making the clear case that using energy wisely is a triple win: good for the economy, the environment, and the bottom line. Pre-registration is required.
Beer and Wine Summit
Harrisburg - June 26
Litter Control and Enforcement: A Stakeholder Discussion
Philadelphia - June 27
PennFuture's 2012 Annual Clean Energy Conference
Philadelphia - September 13-14
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PennFuture's Session Daze is designed to be a brief, informative and occasionally humorous look at
public policy in Pennsylvania. Please visit our website for more information about PennFuture.