Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund (USTIF) Monies Appropriated To General Fund (Again)
For the second time this year, $30 million of USTIF were designated to be diverted to the state’s General Fund.
In April, the same amount was earmarked for purchase of medical supplies in response to COVID -19.
The budget passed in May was a stop gap five-month budget due to the uncertainty of the state’s fiscal picture due to the pandemic.
In June, those monies were reallocated back to USTIF as part of the receipt of federal stimulus funds. The caveat at that point was that USTIF was directed not to utilize those funds-although the Fund did accumulate interest from the $30 million since July.
This past week, the General Assembly took action to fund the balance of the fiscal year.
Once again, $30 million is earmarked for the General Fund-this time to balance the state budget. And this action is recorded as an appropriation from the Fund-not a loan.
In the 2002 state budget, $100 million was borrowed from USTIF to balance that year’s fiscal plan. A portion of that loan has been repaid over the years-but not close to satisfying the total of the loan and interest.
It is not clear as of this writing what the impact of this will be on tank owners.
Approximately $300 million has accumulated in the Fund. However, state law requires that the Fund be actuarially sound.
At its December meeting, the USTIF Board will receive the annual report from its actuaries. Whether a fee increase is warranted or not will be discussed at this time.
PPA was instrumental in the legislative fight to create the Fund in the 1990’s in response to the provisions of the federal storage tank law that required tank owners demonstrate $1.2 million of financial responsibility and that requirement is still in force today.