Senate Budget Released
The Senate released its budget this past Wednesday. Overall, the Senate slightly increased funding for the environmental agencies when compared to the House budget. In particular, DEP's administrative line-item was increased by $400k from $26.0 million to $26.4 million and DCR's State and Urban Parks line-item received a much needed $600k boost from $41.3 million to $41.9 million.
Unfortunately, the Senate also cut some important line-items including Stormwater Management within DCR that was reduced from $693k in the House budget to $391k. The Office of Dam Safety also within DCR was reduced from $410k to $288k. Given the severe flooding we just experienced, this is especially troubling. The Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) administrative line-item took an almost $300k hit, reducing it from $9.5 million to $9.2 million. Additionally, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute's dedicated line-item of $3.0 million recommended in both the Governor's and the House budgets was rolled into the University of Massachusetts line-item in the Senate budget. The UMass line-item does not have a dedicated amount to fund TURI.
Below is an agency by agency analysis comparing the House and Senate budgets.
We are working on getting amendments introduced that would increase funding for specific line-items and getting Senators to cosponsor them. Debate will begin next week and once debate is complete, a conference committee will be established to reconcile the House and Senate versions. We will keep you posted.