The Indiana House Republicans Thursday rejected an effort by State Representative Nancy Dembowski to protect funds earmarked for lakes around the state. Dembowski has 27 lakes in her district and tried to make $2.4 million in funds paid for by boaters to remain dedicated to that purpose.
The Representative objected to the Daniels administration taking the money to shore up the State budget. Following the defeat, Dembowski talked to reporters.
“In the last year, the Governor and the State Budget Agency just simply appropriated those grants and took them out of that fund and put it in the General Fund to help balance the budget,” said Dembowski. “I have a real concern with that because dedicated funds are there for a specific purpose. I had a lot of unhappy constituents on lakes who were concerned about the fact that those grants had gone away. I’m trying to get a second reading amendment built with the hope that I can put in there that those funds can not be moved from the DNR and they need to stay in the Lake and River Enhancement fund.”
Dembowski predicted that problems on lakes will not be addressed because of the shift in funding from the grants. She assured residents on lakes and rivers that she will attempt to address the matter during the remaining days and weeks of the session.
Another $1.4 million was diverted from the fund to pay conservation officers’ salaries.