A Nightmare on ‘Green’ Street: The Horrors of Budget-Setting Season

The horror film series known as A Nightmare on Elm Street sets forth a tale in which the freakish villain, Freddy Krueger, enters his victim’s dreams, creates a suspenseful and chilling nightmare, and proceeds to kill them.   It’s scary stuff, believe me.  But the effects of a scary movie in freaking out an audience for one night pales in comparison to the lasting effects of an equally suspenseful and chilling process that we all bear witness to around this time every year: the state and local budget-setting process.  A wide variety of environmental and clean energy benefit funds are set to fall victim to the seemingly bottomless pit of government debt as a result of tax revenues drying up from the latest deep economic recession.

Grab your loved ones tight and cover your eyes and ears if necessary.  Here’s a round-up of recent headlines:

“ . . .  Mr. Paterson proposed moving $90 million of the initiative’s money to the general fund, to help with the deficit once the lawsuit is resolved.”


TRENTON - Governor Christie announced today that, as part of his 2011 budget, he will take $20 million worth of clean energy money to help plug the state’s budget deficit.  This is on top of the $286 million in clean energy money that he has already taken for the 2010 budget.


PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island environmental advocates are decrying a proposal in the General Assembly to strip $1 million from the state Renewable Energy Fund to help fill the state budget deficit.


As you’ve no doubt picked up from all the news of late, the underlying message from elected officials is that in order to stay fiscally afloat, governments need to sacrifice a wide array of program and service funding in order to meet the deficits. Here at NRDC, we will continue to defend such funds that are crucial for a safe and healthy environment and vital for our local and state economies to stay competitive in the race toward global leadership in emerging the clean energy economy.  Furthermore, we continue to create and advocate for innovative policies that accomplish our important state and local environmental and clean energy goals by remaining ‘off-budget’.  

A final piece of advice for all of us advocating for good causes that are perilously ‘on-budget’ in local and state budgets comes from the A Nightmare on Elm Street series itself, “Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.”