Here is the text from an e-mail alert sent our way from the Working Lands Alliance. Help WLA ensure that farmland protection is not a victim of the latest round of budger cuts:
WLA LEGISATIVE ALERT
WLA needs you to remind legislative leaders about the importance of farmland protection as well as the Agriculture Viability Grants program. PLEASE CONTACT STATE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS BEFORE JANUARY 2ND and urge them to maintain funding for farmland in 2009!!!
Governor Rell’s recent budget mitigation proposal included a provision to redirect $10m in funds from the Community Investment Act Account. This cut will directly impact the CT Farmland Preservation Program by eliminating at least $2.5m in funds that are used for program staff, appraisals, surveys, title searches, as well as the very popular and highly successful CT Agriculture Viability Grants program.
Enacted in 2005, the Community Investment Act was heralded as a dramatic success, creating a dedicated revenue stream to protect and preserve the unique character of Connecticut for future generations. Public willingness to accept this fee ($30 deed recording fee) was based on the promise that this revenue would be permanently directed to farmland, open space, historic preservation, and affordable housing. Any raid on the Community Investment Account fund —even temporary—could potentially erode public confidence and willingness to continue paying this fee!!
In the past three years the state’s Farmland Preservation Program has been dramatically strengthened thanks to two separate funding mechanisms: 1) Community Investment Act funds (Public Act 05-228); and 2) Governor Rell’s commitment to lump sum bonding for farmland (Public Act 07-162). Given the very serious state budget deficit, WLA supporters will need to fight hard in 2009 to maintain these two funding sources so farmland preservation can continue!! The financial challenges facing the state are similar to those facing farm families who are looking to sell the development rights on their farmland to the state. Right now there are over 50 farm applications representing almost 6,000 acres of farmland that the state may be able to protect over the next two years!!
The Governor has called a special legislative session on Jan 2nd to take action on her budget mitigation package.
Please contact leaders in the state legislature BEFORE JANUARY 2ND and urge them to oppose any effort to redirect Community Investment Act funds!!!