To the editor:
I am writing to correct the mistaken perception that the Legislature is not encouraging economic development aggressively within the state. Your article in the Metro Section on March 27 was especially misleading.The article, entitled "Education likely to get bulk of extra funds," included a closing paragraph which is technically correct but deceiving. As co-chairman of the Appropriations Committee for the Department of Community and Economic Development, I feel I can state this with some authority.
Your statement reads, "Community and economic development was appropriated $12.8 million less than last year, a 16.7 percent decrease from its fiscal year 1988-89 budget. Percentagewise it was the greatest decrease of any state program."
Your source data used preliminary numbers and not the final appropriations. The data were also taken out of context. The data are technically correct except the final numbers were $14.6 million less than last year, an 18.6 percent decrease from its fiscal 1988-89 estimated budget.
In fact, this is a 12.4 percent increase over the fiscal 1988-89 appropriated budget. The estimated budget includes carry-over funds not expended in fiscal 1987-88 ($9.8 million), several one-time sources of funding (including a mineral lease settlement of $7.8 million, and a one-time supplemental appropriation of $3.9 million) and an increase in the estimate of federal funding ($.5 million).
The fact is the Legislature is deeply committed to economic development and education. The fiscal 1989-90 budget increases Community and Economic Development's base budget 4.9 percent in general funding, 19.8 percent in federal funding, and 14 percent in its mineral lease revenue projections.
Rep. Kim R. Burningham