New York Parks and Environmental Funding, 2012

Hiking trail through laurel at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

New York State Budget 2012-13: Enhance the Environmental Protection Fund to Expand Economic and Environmental Benefits

 

March 28, 2012: Hurray and Congratulations EPF and Open Space Supporters!

THANKS TO YOUR HARD WORK THE EPF WAS MAINTAINED AT $134 million, including $17.5 million for open space preservation!  An agreement was announced by Albany's leaders earlier this week.

This victory was only achieved because of  dedication and partnership of groups and individuals across the state.  A strong presence in Albany by the broad coalition Friends of New York's Environment, and by local groups in regions throughout the State, was instrumental in reminding lawmakers that the EPF benefits our economy and creates jobs, while protecting our environment.

In a press release, the group thanked Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the rest of the legislature for maintaining last year’s funding levels for the EPF, despite a budget deficit.

“Our organizations are also grateful that the legislature and Governor gave consideration during budget deliberations to a proposal that would enhance the EPF. We applaud the Senate and Assembly for including this proposal – which would use revenue from the state’s existing Bottle Bill – in their one-house budget bills. This proposal (A. 7137-A (Latimer) / S. 5403-A (Grisanti) has broad public support.

“While we are disappointed that this or any proposal to enhance the EPF was not included in the final budget agreement, we will continue to work with the legislature and Governor to see environmental funding enhanced during the remainder the 2012 legislative session. Project needs in all regions of the state currently outpace available funding, and since these programs are proven successful public-private partnerships that deliver a return on the state’s investments and create jobs, we believe that increasing funding in the coming years will help restore New York’s economy.”

The Friends of New York’s Environment is a partnership of more than 100 environmental, public health, agricultural, recreational and urban stakeholder groups, including the Trail Conference.


Economic Benefits of Open Space Preservation: A report from the New York State Comptroller, March 2010  Click here to download a copy.


Issue Updates : 

March 22, 2012 Action Alert!

This is an urgent request as budget conference committees are meeting RIGHT NOW in Albany, and big decisions on EPF funding are being made. Please contact New York's leaders via email or telephone today!
 
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos:  518-455-3171
Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver:  518-455-3791
Governor Cuomo:  518-474-8390

Sample Letter: 

Thank you for maintaining the Environmental Protection Fund in the state budget. The EPF is important to my community because it protects our parks, clean water, local farms, and zoos and provides funding for open space protection and other environmental projects. All of these things create local jobs and boost our economy. There is an exciting opportunity to make even more progress this year. As you continue work on the state budget, please commit to growing the EPF in the future with money from the state's existing Bottle Bill. A bigger EPF will protect our natural resoures, public health, and provide clean, green jobs in communities throughout New York. Thank you again for your support!


 

 

March 14, 2012

While we're happy to report that both houses' budget bills maintain overall funding for the EPF for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, we are dismayed that the Senate budget includes a $2 million reduction, from $17.5 million to $15.5 million, to the already diminished state land protection program. The Senate’s proposed reduction in the open space line is bad because it hinders important pending state land acquisition projects as well as further diminishes critical open space acquisition funding for land trusts and local communities. This program has already been severely cut in prior years, and is currently down 75% from 2008 funding levels.

Please call all of your state legislators immediately in order to advocate for a restoration of the land protection category in the enacted budget. To reach a Senate office, dial 518-455-2800 and ask for the Senator you wish to speak with. To reach an Assembly office, dial 518-455-4100 and ask for the Assembly member you wish to speak with.

  • Thank your Senator and Assembly member for their proposal to maintain the overall EPF for next year, and to use Bottle Bill revenue to enhance the EPF in the future.
  • Share that you are concerned that the Senate budget proposal reduces funding for open space conservation by $2 million. This program has already been significantly reduced in recent years and additional cuts are bad for the EPF and for your region of New York.
  • Remind them why the EPF is critically important in your community.
  • Ask them to speak with leadership in their Conference to urge that this proposal to cut EPF funding for state open space conservation is rescinded during budget negotiations, and that funding be maintained in the final enacted budget for fiscal year 2012-2013.

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February 17, 2012:

Urge your State Senator to sign on to a letter from Senator Grisanti to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos requesting that Grisanti’s legislation to phase Bottle Bill revenue into the EPF be added to the Senate Budget Proposal.  The letter is open to sign ons from all majority Senators until Wednesday, Feb. 22PLEASE CALL YOUR MAJORITY SENATOR TODAY AND URGE THEM TO SIGN ON TO SENATOR GRISANTI’S LETTER!  You can share this pdf copy of the letter with them if they have not seen it yet.

So far, the following members ARE ALREADY SIGNED on: Gallivan, Hannon, Larkin, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, O'Mara, Ritchie, Robach, Young

SENATORS WHO SHOULD BE CONTACTED INCLUDE:

Alesi, Ball, Bonacic, DeFrancisco, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Golden, Griffo, Johnson, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, McDonald, Nozzolio, Ranzenhofer, Saland, Seward, Zeldin

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January 30, 2012

WAYS TO ENHANCE THE EPF IN FUTURE YEARS

As Part of the New York Works Program, Enable the use of Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) Bonding for EPF Projects

The New York Works Program uses EFC bonding to deploy capital to important parks and environmental projects. EPF is a capital fund, and many programs can take advantage of bonding. Over the past decade the EFC has financed about $400 million in bonds for EPF projects. This year, rather than authorize bonding in order to “sweep” cash from the EPF, the budget should authorize bonding in addition to the EPF appropriation. This would add exciting EPF projects that leverage private and local investments with state dollars to the Infrastructure Fund proposal, deploying capital to projects that create jobs, including farmland protection, land management, parks creation, waterfront revitalization and more.

Increase Real Estate Transfer Tax Revenue Dedicated to the EPF

When the EPF was created in 1993, the state’s Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) was established as the source of revenue for the Fund. Given the long-standing and important link between the EPF and the RETT, we support budget language to increase the amount of RETT dedicated to the EPF in coming years, as revenues improve.

Phase Revenue from the Bottle Bill into the EPF (S. 5403-A Grisanti / A. 7137-A Latimer) Annual revenue of approximately $115 million generated by the state’s bottle deposit law, which keeps communities cleaner and encourages recycling, should be used to benefit state programs that protect our air, land and water. This legislative language which should be added to the budget phases this revenue into the EPF in over four years, and would supplement current RETT revenue that would remain in the Fund.

 

Talking points: 

 

• Established in 1993, the EPF is the State's dedicated source of funding for critical environmental programs that protect what we love about New York - our clean drinking water, our magnificent parks, and our family farms.

• The dedicated funding source for the EPF is the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT). The RETT has funded the EPF since it was created in 1993, and it generates revenue between $500 million and more than $1 billion annually. A portion of the revenue is dedicated to the EPF each year as part of the budget, and the remainder of the RETT is used for the General Fund, where it can be spent on non-environmental programs.

• The EPF was due to reach $300 million in 2011. Instead, it has dropped from $222 million in 2009 to $134 million in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, the Governor again proposes to hold the EPF at $134 million. New York cannot afford to have the EPF go backward while our environmental needs increase.

• Environmental investments from the EPF create jobs, eliminate solid waste, prevent pollution and invasive species, protect natural resources and community character, revitalize urban areas, and connect people with the outdoors. Our environmental agencies and the EPF provide economic benefits reaching every county in New York State.

• Many EPF programs leverage local, federal and private funding. Some programs prevent contamination or the need for additional infrastructure, which is often more costly to taxpayers in the long-run. Other programs support big industries in New York State, including agriculture and tourism. These sectors of our economy support many jobs and bring out-of-state money to New York communities.

Sample Letter: 

Thank you for maintaining the Environmental Protection Fund in the state budget. The EPF is important to my community because it protects our parks, clean water, local farms, and zoos and provides funding for open space protection and other environmental projects. All of these things create local jobs and boost our economy. There is an exciting opportunity to make even more progress this year. As you continue work on the state budget, please commit to growing the EPF in the future with money from the state's existing Bottle Bill. A bigger EPF will protect our natural resoures, public health, and provide clean, green jobs in communities throughout New York. Thank you again for your support!

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Grisanti sign on letter 2-2012.pdf56.98 KB