Environment Fares Well in Proposed State Budgets

New York’s Senate and Assembly recently released their budget proposals for FY 2017-2018. Now, the two legislative houses and the Governor must reconcile their various proposals to ensure environmental protection. Though there were slight differences on the environment, the main news is that the counter proposals of both houses of the legislature largely maintain the strong levels of environmental and health funding proposed by Governor Cuomo in January.

The State Assembly’s 2017-2018 Budget Proposal takes steps to ensure environmental protection, however there are certain aspects in which the proposal is lacking. The Assembly opposed the Governor’s executive proposal to remove $23 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, instead recommending a transfer of funds to community solar energy projects. The New York State Senate in their budget plan this past year proposed removing nearly a million dollars from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The Assembly’s recommendation to invest funds in sustainable energy for residential communities could help to diversify New York’s energy infrastructure, making it more sustainable. This proposal is essential in a state where 35.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases were produced in 2014 alone, according to the NYSERDA.

The Assembly’s proposal also made further investments in environmental restoration efforts by allocating $21,200,000 to oil spill clean up. Further protection efforts were suggested with a proposed investment of $4.64 million in the Adirondack Park Agency. Senate’s current proposal for 2017 focuses strongly on water infrastructure with a proposed $8 billion to be invested in Clean Water in the coming years under the Senate’s budget. Another $300 million would be invested in the Environmental Protection Fund under the Senate’s current plan, which both the Assembly and the Governor supported.

Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal also makes efforts to protect New York’s water quality with $2 billion to ensure clean water for New Yorkers. Both the Assembly and the Senate agreed with the Governor’s proposal, acknowledging the importance of clean water in New York.

The Senate, Governor, and Assembly also agreed to work on implementing a paint recycling program and a farm to food bank recycling program to reduce food waste.

Though not every proposal will be accepted for the final budget plan, the relative lack of disagreement, such as the $300 million proposed investment for the Environmental Protection Fund and $2 billion for clean water, show that New York is making an effort to protect both its citizens and its environment.

NYLCV Highlights:
Fully Funded Environmental Protection Fund
Strong investments in Clean Water infrastructure
Support for the Farm to Food Bank Tax Credit