We are mid-way through the legislative session and our lawmakers continue to grapple with difficult budget decisions. What this means for us is that our advocacy efforts are critical.
WLA has been working closely with our partners to reverse the unprecedented sweep of Community Investment Act funds proposed in the Governor’s budget. Our work is making a difference, but we know that a lot of work lies ahead of us as the budget negotiations intensify.
At a hearing on March 9th, our CIA coalition delivered a strong message to the Finance Committee that this sweep would have a devastating impact on the Community Investment Act, with almost 70 people coming to testify in person and many more submitting written testimony!
The message was clear: the Community Investment Act is preserving our farmland, supporting our farmers, conserving open space, investing in historic preservation efforts, and creating affordable housing. And it must stay intact.
Over the last week, the Courant published an excellent editorial this past Sunday and other news outlets have covered the advocacy efforts to preserve CIA.
Hartford Courant editorial: ” Raiding Dedicated Funds Defeats Purpose”
The Day: “Diverse Groups Lobby to Keep Dedicated Fund for Land, Farms, Historic and Housing Projects”
WFUV (NPR affiliate): “Advocates Urge CT Lawmakers to Protect Community Investment Act”
If you haven’t already done so, contact your legislator and tell them you oppose the proposed sweep of Community Investment Act funds. Your calls matter!
WLA’s other efforts include supporting the Governor’s proposal to authorize $10 million in bond funding for FY16 and 17 for both the Farmland Preservation Program and for the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program. Finally, we continue to work with our partners, DEEP staff, and key lawmakers to remove what is know as the “70% rule” – a rule which unnecessarily caps total federal and state spending in a land conservation project at 70% of the total appraised value.
Our work on these and other issues will continue over the coming months and we will keep you posted.