The budget agreement recently struck between House and Senate Republicans and the Whitmer administration to resolve the budget deficit exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is littered with casualties. Unfortunately, the cuts in the budget are hitting close to home – Inland Lakes Aquatic Invasive Plant Species Control Program funding has been cut from the budget.
The FY 2018-2019 budget included a $1.0 million one-time GF/GP appropriation through a supplemental budget; the program was intended to provide grants to inland lake associations for eradication and control of invasive aquatic plant species. Up to this point, however, only $25,000 of the original appropriation had been utilized, and so the remaining $975,000 was re-absorbed into the general fund.
We are not the only folks feeling the pain from the budget agreement, but I do believe this highlights two key points:
1. We have to find a more efficient and effective process for administering grants, seeing that only $25,000 of the $1.0 million available had been utilized.
2. We need to pursue a dedicated funding source for the maintenance and prevention of inland lake aquatic invasive plant species.
We will continue our efforts throughout the remainder of this legislative session so that we’re prepared to provide valuable input from the beginning of the 2021 legislative session.