Amendment to Restore Environmental Trust Fund Dollars
The Senate’s proposed environment and natural resources omnibus finance bill cut nearly $90 million from the general fund budgets of environmental agencies. The bill then shifted dedicated funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund to compensate for these cuts.
The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund receives lottery proceeds that are dedicated to the outdoors. The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) makes annual recommendations on the allocation of Trust Fund dollars after a thorough vetting and screening process. The statute governing the Trust Fund states that lottery dollars must not be used to simply replace other funding sources or to backfill cuts.
SF2314 reduced the recommendations of the LCCMR by 25% and shifted the dollars to 1) backfill for cuts to state parks, 2) fund wastewater infrastructure projects not intended to be funded with Trust Fund dollars, and 3) fund other projects that had never been heard by the LCCMR.
An amendment was offered to SF2314 to restore the recommendations of the LCCMR.
The motion did not prevail. So, the amendment was not adopted and Trust Fund dollars will be proposed to backfill budget cuts and fund projects not recommended by the LCCMR.