The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC) wrapped up their budget presentations today with a handful of reports from the Senate and House committee chairmen. Today’s hearing started promptly at 8:00am with Senate Agricultural Affairs Chairman Steve Bair (R-Blackfoot) discussing the budgets his committee had reviewed.
Bair said they had reviewed the Soil and Water Conservation Commission’s budget, and referenced the two-to-one match was $209,700 from being fully funded. IASCD and the SWC presented to the Senate Ag Affairs Committee on February 14th, 2013 and discussed the importance of a fully funded match.
Chairman Bair let JFAC know that districts use match funds to leverage grants from the Office of Species Conservation, Bonneville Power Administration, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and even private grants. He also said that local soil and water conservation districts can play a great role in reducing the TMDL in Idaho’s streams and rivers. Therefor, the Senate Ag Committee recommended an additional $209,700.
The date for JFAC to hear the SWC’s budget isn’t known at this time, but we will share it with you as soon as it is set.
Thank you Chairman Bair for your strong support!
The Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts wrote a letter to the twenty Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) members asking they fully fund the state match to local conservation districts. While the Soil and Water Commission requested an additional $174,300 to provide full match funds, Governor Butch Otter’s proposed budget did not make this recommendation. Full match funds are consistent with the provision in section 22-2727 of Idaho State Code. The statute allows a state match of up to twice the amount received in the previous year from local support.
We hand delivered our letter to the JFAC members on Tuesday. Below you can read a short portion of our letter, or if you click here, you can read the letter in its entirety.
We know the difficult economy continues to linger across our nation and our state. Idahoans continue to make tough financial decisions regarding their small businesses or with their family checkbook. Governor Otter, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, and all of your colleagues have done outstanding work to keep our state’s budget balanced.
The state dollars invested in the district match ripple out into our communities and impact all facets of our economy. We are requesting an increase of $174,300 to the SWC’s FY13 budget in order to fully meet the two-to-one state match set in state code. This additional funding will allow districts to put more conservation projects on the ground, and continue to be the state leader in natural resource issues.