To the Editor:
The next New York budget is on its way to passage; with the federal stimulus of $12.6 billion, it will not be as bad as projected.
But there are still many problems ahead for New York. Our state had a budget deficit before the pandemic and a declining population, which the census will likely confirm later this year. We must look for new ways to bring people back to New York. Without more people, our state will continue to suffer, and the problems will continue to grow.
What is one way to bring people back? More jobs. How do we get more jobs? By investing strategically in the industries of the future, and we can do that without hurting businesses already here.
Green energy has dazzling potential. It is the industry with the fastest-growing job basis in the country, and these jobs pay higher than average. We need the energy, too. New York has some of the highest utility rates in the country, and investment in green energy will lower energy costs because the costs for renewable energy continue to go down.
Recognizing the value of green energy, the legislature passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019. This bill outlined clear and achievable targets to increase renewable energy production, storage and energy infrastructure. Plus, it recognized that many communities across New York have been left behind and disadvantaged economically, so it makes sure that large parts of the investment go to these communities.
Our region has been left behind by Albany for far too long. This bill may start to change that. Of course, the question comes up of how to pay for these upgrades.
We cannot print money like the federal government, so the answer is the Climate and Community Investment Act. This bill will set taxes and charges against those businesses that pollute the most. The revenue will be invested directly into our state.
I support this legislation because it answers the question of how to pay for a specific state program. It may not be a perfect bill, it should be debated, and that debate can certainly make it better.
The results of this bill will help our region and, for that, we all have reason to support it.
Dan Buttermann, Oneonta