This week, the House and Senate unveiled their initial budgets. The Appropriations Committees will meet next week to pass the respective budgets, which will then go to the floor of both chambers. Once the House and Senate have passed their budgets, the conference process can begin.
Land conservation is not faring well in either budget this year. The Rural and Family Lands program received no funding on either side. Last year, the program received $35M. Florida Forever also received no funding in the House, but did receive $15.2M in funding in the Senate. This represents a carryover of the recurring funds received last year. Florida Communities Trust received $10M in the House and $5M in the Senate.
The Local Government Cleanup Contracting program received full funding of $14M in the Senate but received $13M in the House. The Distribution to Counties from Motor Vehicle Registration Proceeds for air pollution programs was fully funded on both sides at $8.7M.
Notably, the Senate also transferred $111M in agency employee salaries and benefits from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) to General Revenue (GR), thus freeing these funds up for environmental programs.
Funding for other major environmental programs on both sides includes: Beaches, $30M in the House (no Hurricane Matthew recovery funding) and $100M in the Senate (including $50M for Hurricane Matthew recovery and $50M for the traditional program); Everglades, $165M in the House and $275M in the Senate; Springs, $40M in the House and $50M in the Senate; Water Projects, $20M in the House and $64M in the Senate.