Governor Charlie Baker released his FY2019 state budget proposal recently and, notably, it continues to underfund environmental programs.
A few key things to note:
- Environmental advocates have requested that the state fund environmental programs at a rate of 1 percent of the total state budget. The Governor has proposed a level equal to only 0.5 percent of the total state budget.
- Environmental agencies have been largely level-funded from FY2018—meaning they continue to be underfunded. This is incredibly problematic because it means staffing shortages will continue, and environmental enforcement efforts will remain inadequate.
- Funding for technical assistance and incentives for municipalities engaged in climate change adaptation efforts was increased by $2 million. (Yay!)
Fortunately, the Governor’s budget is merely one proposal. The House and Senate are in the midst of crafting their own funding priorities, and there’s time to make our voices heard. You may recall that NepRWA joined with the Environmental League of Massachusetts to advocate for better funding for three priority programs administered by the Departments of Conservation and Recreation and Environmental Protection. We are also working with the Watershed Action Alliance of Southeastern Massachusetts to engage legislators in our region around watershed priorities through a legislative breakfast on April 12th.
We encourage our members to join us in support of better funding of environmental programs.
All are welcome to participate in the legislative breakfast to meet your state legislators and explain why the Neponset River Watershed is important to you.
State of Our Waters
Thurs., April 12 from 10am-noon
MA State House, Room 248
You may also directly contact your legislators to advocate for increased funding for state environmental programs. (Not sure who your legislator is? Just plug your address into this form.)
The more people who engage elected officials around watershed issues, the better those officials will understand the importance and impact of the Neponset River on their constituents—and the better equipped they are to elevate those issues when engaging with their colleagues around budget and policy priorities.
Kerry Snyder, Advocacy Director