The New York League of Conservation Voters applauds the New York State Senate and Assembly on their budget proposals, which include several measures that will help the state meet the goals set out in the CLCPA and put in place the policies we need to face down the increasingly urgent climate crisis.
We are very pleased to see both houses include a major NYLCV priority–the decarbonization of buildings. Buildings are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutants in New York State, and by calling for all construction of new buildings to be zero emissions and by prioritizing the decarbonization of state-owned buildings–part of our UpgradeNY campaign–we can make real progress on our emissions goals.
After years of being underfunded, increasing operating aid to the MTA is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity to a well functioning mass transit system, which is key to getting automobiles off the road and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While they offered different funding sources than the Governor’s proposal, we are thrilled that both houses included this fiscal boost for the MTA and we hope all three parties can agree to increased operating aid in the final budget as well as funding for more frequent peak subway service.
As the state seeks to address the housing shortage, we are pleased to see both houses recognize the importance of smart growth development in this effort. Unfortunately they rejected important elements of the Governor’s proposed housing compact, especially transit-oriented development rezoning around Metro North and LIRR train stations, and we strongly encourage that to be part of the final budget agreement.
We are also pleased that both houses increased the size of the Environmental Protection Fund – the Senate to $500 million and the Assembly to $435 million–without raiding the funds to cover staff, added $100 million beyond the $500 million the Executive Budget proposed to the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, and included sales tax authorization to fund the proposed Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act referendum.
The Senate included several other NYLCV priorities, including the Waste Reduction & Recycling Act, which is critically important to reduce waste and support municipal recycling programs; the NY HEAT bill to end the 100-foot rule and the obligation to serve new customers for gas utilities; further guidance for the Cap and Invest program proposed in the Executive Budget; and protection and funding for Class C Streams.
We thank Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Heastie for their leadership in getting the budget to this stage. As the governor and legislature work toward a final budget, we encourage all parties to come together not only on these measures, but also to include a Clean Fuel Standard to decarbonize transportation.