Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions

New York State Budget Battle Begins


Yesterday Governor Cuomo released his proposed Executive budget for FY 2014-15. The Governor has proposed to fund the NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) at $157 million, which would be an increase of $4 million from last year’s adopted budget.

Governor Cuomo’s proposal for an incremental increase to the NYS Environmental Protection Fund is a step in the right direction; however, this should only serve as a starting point for negotiations with the Legislature to increase the EPF in the final budget. After years of inadequate environmental funding, New York’s environmental and public health protection needs have drastically outpaced available resources.  CCE and other EPF-champions have been advocating for a $200 million EPF in 2014-2015.  The EPF  is essential to provide clean water, healthy communities, vibrant parks, and sustainable economic development for our state. The EPF’s predominant and dedicated source of funding, the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), has bounced back after the recession and is generating more than $700 million in revenue annually.  A healthy RETT, along with decreased debt payments for the last environmental bond act and an anticipated state budget surplus, further bolster the justification for a significant investment in the EPF this year.

In addition to robust funding for the broader EPF, CCE is advocating for the following specific items:

  • Ocean and Great Lakes: CCE is advocating for $9 million in the Ocean and Great Lakes line in the EPF to continue progress to protect and restore New York’s coastal water resources. Governor Cuomo has proposed $4.8 million for the program.
  • Safe Pharmaceutical Disposal: CCE is advocating that $800,000 be allocated to expand DEC’s program to collect and safely dispose of unused/expired pharmaceutical drugs from hospitals and other health care facilities, which would otherwise often be flushed and pollute local waterways. Currently, DEC’s program only covers NYC and is expanding to Monroe County, leaving most of the state without access to this important program.
  • Full implementation of the Sewage Pollution Right-to-Know Law: Passed in 2012, this landmark public health law is yet to be fully implemented. The DEC needs additional resources to fully implement the law and protect New Yorkers from unnecessary exposure to harmful sewage pollution.
  • Biotoxin Monitoring: CCE supports DEC expanding its biotoxin monitoring program in order to address the serious and growing problem of Harmful Algal Blooms in New York’s waters
  • Reusable Bag Incentive: CCE supports a 5 cent charge on disposable plastic and paper bags at check-out counters to reduce the solid waste pollution impacting New York’s waters, parks, beaches, roadways, landfills, and water treatment facilities.



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This entry was posted in Legislative, Open Space and Wildlife, Public Health and Toxics, Water Protection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Peter A Murray
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Why also not push for funding EV infrastructure and incentives.

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