- State Budget a Missed Opportunity for Cuomo and Legislative Leaders

For Immediate Release: March 29, 2014Travis Proulx: tproulx@eany.org, 518-462-5526 x238

State Budget a Missed Opportunity for Cuomo and Legislative Leaders

Statement from Executive Director Peter Iwanowicz

“Governor Cuomo and legislators seemed to spend more time this budget season swatting away each other’s bad ideas rather than demonstrating the leadership New Yorkers need to advance a progressive environmental and public health agenda.

To give credit where it is due, all parties agreed to a nominal bump in spending through the Environmental Protection Fund, though it falls far short of what our communities need and are due. We also applaud the Senate and Assembly for rejecting the Governor’s head-scratching proposal to roll back the public’s pesticides right-to-know law, as well as the Governor for stopping the clean energy fund raids sought by both houses.

But this all begs the question, why are backwards-looking and reckless proposals even part of the conversation? Too many politicians say one thing to constituents and do another once behind the Capitol’s closed doors. This budget is no different.

The Senate Majority Coalition succeeded yet again in delaying the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2006 – a law heralded as an answer to curbing childhood asthma attacks and an economic boon for upstate manufacturing. And the Assembly balked at fixing the state’s Brownfields Cleanup Program, which has cost taxpayers over $1.14 billion to clean up only about 150 sites.

While we’re thankful Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders served as checks on each other’s attempts to turn back the clock, ultimately stale-mating on the status quo is not the kind of leadership that New Yorkers were promised. Governor Cuomo, legislative leaders, and rank-and-file members need to advance the environmental and public health protections they promised. We look forward to working with all parties to ensure that the state’s unfinished business – Brownfields reform, Superfund refinancing, and restoring the state’s environmental agencies – is addressed this year.”