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Pa. State Parks' 2013-14 Budget 'Unchanged'

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July 2, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) received $22 million less from the state general fund in the 2013-14 state budget, but that drop is offset by gains elsewhere, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, reported.

Gov. Tom Corbett's original budget looked relatively good for the state parks and forests, with funding forecast to rise a few thousand dollars. A House proposal raised it even more than that. But in the end, the legislature cut the general fund allocation and replaced it with money from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund.

In total, DCNR will have a budget of about $300 million, said spokeswoman Christina Novak. That's about the same as last fiscal year. DCNR's cut (share) of the Oil and Gas Lease Fund will rise from $69 million to about $106 million, Novak said. That increase will not require the state to lease any more state forest land, though Novak noted that not all of the leased land has been developed.

Advocates are not pleased. They don't like the idea that DCNR, a regulatory agency, is being partially funded by drilling it plays a part in overseeing. They also worry that once general funds are cut, they will not be replaced.

Overall, after two leaner spending plans in his first two years, Gov. Tom Corbett's third budget spends more money, partly a reflection of an improved economy. The $28.37 billion budget reflects a 2.3% increase in spending. The budget doesn't raise any state sales taxes or income taxes.

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