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DiNapoli: Let's Explore Environmental Bond Act in 2009

Submitted by Dan Hendrick on Thu, 2009-02-19 11:54.

The prospects for a voter-approved New York State Environmental Bond Act this year are looking up, after New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced he supports exploring a bond to leverage federal stimulus dollars and create a dedicated funding stream for environmental improvements. State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli shares his thoughts on the Environmental Bond Act at NYLCV's Westchester Dinner.State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli shares his thoughts on the Environmental Bond Act at NYLCV's Westchester Dinner. DiNapoli made the announcement on Tuesday at NYLCV's Westchester Chapter benefit, which was held at Manhattanville College.

Acknowledging the state's existing debt burden, DiNapoli said there is a difference between "good debt and bad debt," and that an environmental bond would help the state match and supplement federal stimulus money. DiNapoli also recognized the potential benefits and advantages of such a bond to the state's economy, job creation and the protection of clean water and the environment. For the bond to pass, it is also essential that it not become a "christmas tree" laden with unnecessary initiatives, and that it be focused on clean and appropriate environmental infrastructure. A bond act could be on the ballot as soon as this coming November.

DiNapoli's timing could not be more fortuitous. New York State is expected to lose 225,000 private-sector jobs through 2010, and a bond act would put New Yorkers back to work while also making long-term improvements to our land, air and water. The recently passed federal stimulus package might take up to 18 months to dole out and New York could maximize its ability to leverage these funds by putting state money on the table.

Since 1910, New Yorkers have approved 10 environmental bond acts. As a result of these investments, New York State has a park system that competes with the wide open spaces of the West, one of the best drinking water supplies in the country and a state Superfund program that, although there is more to do, has cleaned up a significant number of sites.

NYLCV was a vocal advocate for the last Environmental Bond Act, which was supported by voters in 1996. The $1.75 billion investment tackled some of the state's most pressing environmental concerns, including the loss of open space and threats to drinking water supplies.


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