Home > Uncategorized > Christie DEP Budget cut $16.7 million more – Move to Kill New Economic Development Office

Christie DEP Budget cut $16.7 million more – Move to Kill New Economic Development Office

DEP Commissioner Martin testifies before Senate Budget Committee (2010)

DEP Commissioner Martin testifies before Senate Budget Committee (2010)

Real Story: DEP Budget Slashed Further

Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight reports that the Assembly’s budget eliminates the DEP Office of “Green energy and Economic Development”, created by Commissioner Bob Martin to implement his vision that DEP’s role is to promote economic development:

The draft budget proposed by Democratic leaders would eliminate funding for the office, saving $1.26 million, a fraction of the DEP’s overall $330 million budget. All told, the agency’s budget has fallen by $16.7 million from the budget introduced by Gov. Chris Christie in March. The drop-off is largely due to the fact that the administration lowered its projections of revenue coming from the corporate business tax. A portion of the tax is dedicated to specific environmental programs, such as cleaning up hazardous waste sites and leaking underground storage tanks.

First, I am pleased to see that Office scrutinized and the issue of economic development promotion at DEP finally engaged, but must note that Greenwald is not killing that Office because of policy reasons (i.e. Greenwald didn’t say that DEP should not be promoting economic development and that role violates their mission).

As such, this is more a political embarrassment to Commissioner Martin than a real challenge to the Christie environmental policy rollback.

But maybe Greenwald would have done the right thing for the right reasons if the enviro community opposed the Christie/Martin economic development Uber Alles from the start, 18 months ago.

If Greenwald is concerned about duplication of services and other management issues, he should restore the DEP Policy and Planning Office and function.

That was the ONLY place in DEP that even attempted to integrate the various permit silos in the Department. Bob Martin killed that Office.

For those interested, I’ve been writing about all this for many months, most recently, see: Some Stuff at Christie’s DEP

Second, I was one of the creators and worked on the 1996 Constitutional amendment to dedicate 4% of corporate business tax proceeds to DEP.

The intent of that was dedication was to stop diversions of DEP and environmental funds.

That CBT money was not supposed to displace General Fund appropriations to DEP.

So, if DEP’s share of CBT revenues is declining, they should be made up by more General Fund appropriations to DEP.

In this case, Christie is slashing DEP’s budget further – and the Democrats are allowing it to happen.

That’s the real story here – not Greenwald’s political games.

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