DLS Recommends Deferral of Land Acquisition and Easement Programs, Local Share to be Repaid

In a recent budget hearing before the Senate Budget and Taxation Capital Budget Subcommittee concerning the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) – Capital, the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) recommended that funding for land acquisition and easement programs should be deferred in favor of other environmental program infrastructure priorities.   Although this recommendation would affect the $4.522 million in authorizations for Local – POS for FY 2013, DLS is recommending that these funds be repaid in FY 2014 and 2015. The recommendation from the analysis is below.

DLS recommends that the GO bond replacement for fiscal 2013 transfer tax revenues, as well as the $5.0 million of additional authorizations for the Rural Legacy program required by Natural Resources Article § 5-9A-09, and the $1.9 million of authorization for agricultural land preservation in the Tobacco Transition Program be redirected to other environmental program purposes in order to facilitate greater use of the State’s resources in support of infrastructure development and enhancement. DLS also recommends that only the Program Open Space – Local reprogrammed funds be repaid, $2,261,000 for each of fiscal 2014 and 2015 since further replacement would further burden future years’ budgets.

The two main reasons provided for this proposed shift by DLS point to Bay Restoration Fund shortfalls and stormwater retrofits.

MDA rejected all of DLS’s recommendations.

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