[CT Birds] Open Space FundingEMERGENCY - Call your State Representative in the next two hours from 1 PM on Wed.

COMINS, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Wed Jun 3 13:07:32 EDT 2009


With all of the recent talk of limited funds and political will for open space protection in Connecticut, I thought you might want to hear about an opportunity to make a difference on an issue critical to funding for open space protection in Connecticut.  This could be the only source of open space funding from the State for the next year and it is critical that this bill passes:

Thank you!

Please Call your State Representative NOW


Urge them to pass Bill 891, with an expanded Community Investment Act. Help preserve open space funds


Last night, the Connecticut Senate unanimously passed an amendment on Bill 891, which would expand the Community Investment Act for two years by increasing the fee that funds it and directing most of the additional revenues to a relief program for diary farmers. The DEP's Open Space Matching Grants program would get an estimated $500,000 additionally each year, as would historic preservation and housing programs.


Unfortunately, there may be a problem having the bill brought up for a vote in the House of Representatives today. Please use the information below to call your State Representative NOW. You'll probably get an aide or voicemail but that's OK; just leave a one sentence message: "Please pass Bill 891, with an expanded Community Investment Act Today"


If you know who your State Representative is:


Go to http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/hlist.asp   Then scroll down to your legislator, and click on the gold ball two columns to the right. Their webpage will come up, click on "contact me" and you'll see their Capitol phone number.


If you don't know who your State Representative is:


Go to: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CGAFindLeg.asp   Type in your address; and "submit"; you'll see the address boxes come up blank, but scroll down and click the gold box next to your State Representative who will be listed. Their webpage will come up, click on "contact me" and you'll see their Capitol phone number.

Background

Community Investment Act (CIA): This program generates about $20 million in revenues annually, from surcharges on real estate document fees, that is divided in quarters between DEP's open space matching grants program, farmland preservation programs, historic preservation programs, and affordable housing programs. The open space portion supplements the bonding the matching grants program receives. The CIA funding is critical both for the dollars it provides and because, unlike bonding, it does not have to be approved by the State Bond Commission before it can be spent.

The New Proposal Amended on to Bill 891: The proposal the Senate passed last night will, for a two-year period, increase the surcharge on real estate document recording. As under the current surcharge, ten percent of the funds will go to Town Clerks for administering the program and to the Local Capital Investment Program. Ninety percent of the funds will go into the "Community Investment Fund", sixty percent of which will be split evenly between the DEP's Open Space Matching Grants program, the Commission on Culture and Tourism's Historic Preservation programs, and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority for affordable housing projects; and forty percent of which will go towards agricultural viability programs and a new dairy relief program. After two years, the program will revert to its current fee level and revenue distribution.

This new  legislation will 1) provide desperately needed funds for the dairy industry, 2) reduce (but not eliminate) the chances of the CIA being "raided" in the upcoming biennial budget negotiations; and 3) provide about $500,000 more for each of the open space, historic preservation, and affordable housing programs.


Thanks so much!


Sandy

Director of Governmental Affairs

Audubon Connecticut

185 East Flat Hill Road

Southbury, CT 06488

(203) 264-5098 x307 phone

(203) 264-6332 fax

(203) 804-0488 cell


Patrick

Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation
Audubon Connecticut
pcomins at audubon.org

http://iba.audubon.org/iba/viewState.do?state=US-CT

Audubon Center at Bent of the River
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury,  CT 06488
Phone:  (203)264-5098 x305
or 203-267-6732 x305
Fax: (203)264-6332




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