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BNA PUBLISHERS REPORT ON STATE ENVIRONMENTAL SPENDING TRENDS

 BNA PUBLISHERS REPORT ON STATE ENVIRONMENTAL SPENDING TRENDS
 WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new report published in the Bureau of National Affairs' (BNA) Daily Environment Report, state spending on environmental programs is increasing even as overall state budgets constrict. However, rather than funding environmental spending with money from taxpayer-financed state treasuries, states are relying increasingly on dedicated revenues (permit fees, enforcement penalties, special trust funds and other similar sources), the report says.
 In compiling the report, BNA correspondents interviewed state officials, environmentalists, and business people in six of the largest states (California, Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Illinois), each of which spends hundreds of millions annually on environmental protection.
 State officials say they have been forced to rely on innovative funding sources as a result of limits placed on state general revenues and federal assistance. Officials also defend the growing reliance on fee and penalty revenues as a logical way to make "polluters pay" for programs that cannot be funded by the average taxpayer.
 However, signs of dissent are surfacing, particularly from businesses targeted by fees and fines. For example, a critic in New York condemned a "speed trap mentality" on the part of state environmental officials trying to collect fees and fines. A business lobbyist suggested that New York officials had a "conflict of interest" because they collect fines that finance their own agency budgets and pay their own salaries. "Enforcement is intended to ensure compliance and penalize non-compliance," the lobbyist said. "It's not supposed to be a fund-raiser."
 The increasing reliance on dedicated revenues has been reinforced by a national recession that has exacerbated budget problems in every state examined by BNA. However, the report found that environmental budgets are growing in five of the six states examined, primarily as a result of creative funding.
 Only in Illinois was there a dip in environmental spending in 1992, with a further modest decrease expected in 1993. In California, New Jersey and New York, modest-to-substantial growth in environmental budgets is expected to continue next year. Florida and Texas are anticipating continued rapid increases in environmental spending as they struggle to cope with the consequences of population growth, development and long-neglected pollution problems.
 In addition to a growing reliance on dedicated revenues, the report revealed the following trends:
 -- Reliance on special bond issues to fund big-ticket programs, such as the purchase of land for preservation;
 -- Consolidation of widely scattered environmental programs under a growing number of centralized state environmental agencies modeled on the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
 Political support for environmental programs in these states remains relatively strong despite budgetary constraints, leading legislators and regulators to seek creative funding solutions. Little evidence was found to support concerns of some local and national commentators that environmental issues are being neglected because of the troubled economy.
 The full report appears in today's issue of BNA's Daily Environmental Report, a specialized information service providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of environmental news, legislative and regulatory action, and legal decisions in the United States and worldwide.
 BNA is a leading private publisher of print and electronic news and information services, reporting on developments in environmental protection, business, economics, law, taxation, labor relations and other public policy issues.
 NOTE: For a copy of the report, call the contact below.
 -0- 3/16/92
 /CONTACT: Jenny Harris of Edelman Public Relations, 202-371-0200, for the Bureau of National Affairs, or Emily Pilk of the Bureau of National Affairs, 202-452-4985/ CO: Bureau of National Affairs ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


DS -- DC004 -- 8183 03/16/92 09:56 EST
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Mar 16, 1992
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