Friday, July 9, 2010

AG Dept. Budget Cut by 11%

This year’s $28.05 billion budget for Pennsylvania cuts funding for most state agencies.
A $5 million reduction at the Department of Agriculture means less money for county fairs, animal laboratories, and possibly layoffs.
The Department of Agriculture lost $1.4 million in general government operating expenses with 23 of its spending categories were reduced.
Among the harder hit line items is the Animal Health Commission, which provides funding for animal laboratories at Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania and the Department of Agriculture.
Secretary Russell Redding says the Commission’s budget dropped by 435-thousand dollars.

"That will be a reduction in services at those three labs. We’re going to have to cut costs, whether that be staff or reimbursements that we try and recover. But they’ll have to make 400-thousand dollars worth of adjustments at that operation."

Redding says some Ag Department employees may be laid off, but says since 67 workers lost their jobs due to budget cuts last year, he’ll do everything he can to avoid staff reductions.

Funding for county fairs has been reduced to just one million dollars.
Russell says that’s actually an improvement, noting Governor Rendell’s initial budget zeroed out the line item. But he says it will be tough to spread the funding to the 113 local fairs the money subsidizes. Two years ago, Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Department spent 3.6 million dollars on county fairs.

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