Keystone Fund – Questions for Appropriation Committee Members

Committee members will often ask for suggestions for questions that might ask at the hearing. Below are a few examples of questions that might be asked in regards to the Keystone Fund:

Land Trust Work

  • Outdoor recreation including hunting and fishing accounts for approximately $1.3 billion in spending Pennsylvania, and brings day and night visitors to local communities to support local economies. When a community uses Keystone Funds to protect its natural resources, it protects the reason outdoor tourists come to the community.  If Keystone funds for open space protection are eliminated, how will the outdoor tourism industry be impacted?
  • The Keystone fund is the only dedicated source of state funding for land trusts to permanently protect open space and parklands that define the character of their communities.  Does the state have a plan on how to effectively fund this work?
  • For every 10% increase in forest cover in a drinking water’s source area, treatment and chemical costs decrease by approximately 20%. Without Keystone supporting land conservation, how will community water supplies be impacted?

Overall Impact

  • What will he long-term costs of DCNR deferring capital improvements that would otherwise be supported by Keystone be?  What is the current backlog of capitol improvement projects?
  • How will loss of Keystone funding impact visitor experience at state parks and forests? What will be the long-term costs resulting from DCNR deferring capital improvements that otherwise would be supported by Keystone?
  • The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund was created by an overwhelmingly approved voter referendum and a near unanimous, bi-partisan General Assembly vote. If the Keystone Fund’s recreation, parks and conservation funds are moved to the general fund, will we be honoring the votes of Pennsylvania’s citizens?
  • With the support of Keystone funding, DCNR has leveraged federal funding    to lead the nation in the development of quality trails. How can DCNR continue this level of success without the investment of Keystone funds?   What statistic is this based on?
  • Each Keystone dollar has leveraged approximately $2.28 in direct local investments in community parks, trails and open space projects. Does the Commonwealth have a more effective vehicle for delivering this type of real and lasting improvements to Pennsylvania’s communities? How much local investment will be lost each year?
  • How would the elimination of Keystone Funding for state parks and forests affect DCNR decisions regarding allocation of Environmental Stewardship Fund monies between community grants and state parks and forests?

Economic Impact

  • If the capital improvement funds needed by state parks and forests to meet the needs of the tens of millions of annual visitors are eliminated, how will the local tourism industry be impacted?
  • The Keystone Fund is primarily a capital projects program with few funds going towards administration or planning.  How will the loss of Keystone Park and Conservation Funds, and the monies they leverage, affect the availability of local jobs
  • Many companies rely on Keystone supported projects, including playground manufacturers and suppliers, engineers, landscape architects, power equipment companies, pool equipment and supply companies, and athletic equipment suppliers How do you anticipate the loss of Keystone and matching funds will impact these companies and the jobs they provide?

 

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