State Environmental Expenditures in New England and Their Relationship to Other Programmatic and Political Metrics

Robert P. Blauvelt


State environmental agencies have developed into one of the primary mechanisms by which public health and quality of life is managed and protected within the United States. This analysis attempts to provide some understanding of what economic and political factors may be influencing funding for state environmental agencies in six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The demographic makeup of New England, an area that is relatively well-off, highly educated, socially liberal, and diverse, make it the ideal place to test the relationships between state environmental agency spending and other key economic and political metrics.

Financial data sets evaluated as part of this study include state spending on 11 common programmatic areas. Non-financial data sets in this analysis include the percentage of voters casting ballots by political party for Democratic presidential candidates, U.S. Senators, U.S Representatives, and Governors, as well as the composition by political party of the upper and lower houses of state legislatures. A Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient was used to compare each state’s environmental expenditures with the 17 independent variable data sets.

Natural Resource spending was positively correlated with Education spending in five states. Total (state) Expenditures also correlate positively with Natural Resource spending. General Revenues, similar to Total Expenditures, positively correlate with Natural Resource spending in five states, suggesting that state environmental agencies are effective bureaucratically in lobbying for and obtaining needed funding. State environmental agencies funding correlated positively with the percent of the electorate voting for the Democratic Presidential candidate in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. This correlation is similar to those noted by other researchers, but the remaining state-level political data sets were less useful in establishing potential relationships.

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