Many sections of the Department of Natural and Economic Resources Budget hold the line. In a few areas, however, there is a significant increase and not for the purposes of adding new jobs. Interestingly, there isn’t a whole lot of help going to famers and agriculture, but rather to wildlife and administrative budgets. Overall, NER’s spending in Perdue’s proposal would decrease by 13 percent from actual appropriations in the current fiscal year ($469 million down from $539 million).
Areas with the largest increases include:
- Funds to support the functioning of Executive Offices and Administrative Services division; an increase of $1,149,812 to ensure that the Department of Natural Resources operates efficiently and effectively through executed legislation and implemented policies.
- Additional funds in the amount of $737,206 for the Forestry Field Organization, which protects forest resources from fire, insects, disease and water quality degradation and provides environmental education to school-aged children and adults.
- An increase of $1,581,564 for Marine Fisheries research and management; it supports marine fisheries management planning, habitat protection and enhancement and construction among many measures of protection for marine life.
- The base budget for state parks grows by $3,112,355; the division is responsible for the management of 67 units in the state parks system, 40 of which are operated by permanent staff.
- An increase in funding for the Museum of Natural Science of $1,018,705 to maintain the state’s natural history collections. The museum also disseminates knowledge and conducts research regarding the biological and geological diversity of North Carolina.
- Two of the five funds that support the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission increased. One budget by $1,539,712 and another by $1,826,744. The primary purpose of this fund is to provide funding to manage, restore, develop, cultivate, conserve, protect, and regulate the wildlife resources of the State of North Carolina.
- Purposes of funding the Executive Aircraft Operations increased by $1,163,560 under the recommended budget. The purpose of the Executive Aircraft Division is to schedule and provide airlift support to state officials, agency representatives, and corporate clients in a safe and timely manner.
- A $20,700,000 increase has been requested for the administration of the Employment Security Commission – who is not adding additional jobs. This is the operating fund for the ESC, which promotes and works to sustain the economic well being of North Carolinians in the world marketplace by providing high quality and accessible workforce-related services.
- Expand corporate welfare programs by $9 million
- Add $2 million to market North Carolina as a business and tourism destination
- $9.96 million cut for “truth in budgeting” agency salary adjustments
- $11 million reduction of “various operation accounts,” in which agency and department heads are empowered to determine specific spending cuts
- Reduction in Clean Water Management Trust Fund of $25 million
- Elimination of BRIDGE Young Offenders Forest Conservation Program ($1 million)
- Elimination of Office of Environmental Education ($400,000)