In the FY2008 budget - Georgia natural resources and agriculture programs will be appropriated $217,656,926 in state funds. This amount equals to a little more than 1 percent of all state appropriations.
Policy and Budget Initiatives Affecting Natural Resources, Forestry and Agriculture in Georgia in 2008
The following bills were passed in the 2007 session of the Georgia General Assembly:
• SB 116: Removes requirement that Director of Forestry Commission has a degree in forestry.
• SB 157: Provides for grants for installing, replacing and converting motor fuel storage equipment to facilitate storing and dispensing E-85 gasoline for retail sale. (Funding in 2008 budget)
• HB 78: Adds land devoted to farm or dairy education under the term “agritourism” making it eligible as conservation use property.
• HB 100: Allows shrimp cast nets to be reinforced with duct tape.
• HB 122: Requires the ingredients in equine feed to be individually listed on the label rather than grouped together by using a collective term.
• HB 413: Creates a tax exemption up to $350,000 for a person selling non-real estate property that will be used in constructing or expanding a “nature center.”
Natural resources funding in the FY08 state budget
• $292,056 to fund new positions for three food safety inspectors, two plant protection inspectors, one livestock/poultry inspector, two meat inspectors and $64,000 for Homeland Security Agriculture Food Defense positions
• $400,000 to implement online licensing for more than 100 licenses and certificates that the Department of Agriculture issues
• $42 million – for land conservation grants
• $500,000 in grants for incentives for the reuse of treated wastewater
• $400,000 to establish an E-85 grant program per SB 157
• $980,000 for ongoing equipment maintenance needs for Forestry Commission
• $1,350,000 for renovations to repair coastal docks
• $300,000 to Environmental Protection Division for six permit issuance positions for erosion and sedimentation
• $990,000 for 33 positions to expand operating hours and enhance customer service in state parks
• $2.5 million to repair, renovate and construct cottages and campgrounds at state parks
• $19 million ($14 million in bonds) — “Go Fish Georgia” to include education center and construct mega ramps to promote bass tournaments
Funding for bonded projects in natural resources and agriculture totaled $29 million. These projects include: An expansion of livestock and equine facilities for the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, equipment and facility maintenance for the Georgia Forestry Commission, and the construction of a visitor center and hatchery for Go Fish Georgia.
On May 18, the governor released $7 million in surplus state funds from the Department of Revenue to the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to fight the wildfires in southeast Georgia that have consumed 500 square miles since April.
Note: Governor signed the FY08 Budget (HB 95) on May 30
Next week: Analysis of governor’s vetoes
Visit the Legislature’s home page at www.legis.state.ga.us
To view the FY08 Budget in its entirety: www.senate.ga.gov - Tab - Budget Reports
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