State Budgeting

About Our Budget Work: With declining fiscal conditions and a looming economic recession, state budget matters and the money dedicated to the agencies responsible for implementing environmental law have taken on new and critical importance. Environmental Advocates of New York’s Fiscal Policy Program looks for innovative ways to ensure the state’s primary environmental agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation, has the resources it needs to effectively implement existing law and protect the health of our air, land and water.

Wet weather pollution events have become a recent focus of EPA and DEC water quality regulators as runoff after heavy rains carries sediment and toxic debris from construction and industrial sites into water bodies, and heavy rainfall causes treatment plants to release raw sewage into waterways.

Turning a Blind Eye to Illegal Pollution (September, 2013)

New York has a robust body of environmental protections, and justifiably so. Environmental protections are inextricably linked to our state’s economic well-being and sound public health.

But as the result of sustained budget cuts during the last decade, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been forced to choose between increasingly poor options when it comes to enforcing the law.

Urban sprawl is not only detrimental to the environment, but it may also be detrimental to your future economic opportunity.

Earlier this year the environmental community made campaign finance reform a priority of the current legislative session – which ends this week – for a simple reason: like David vs. Goliath, on issue after issue the greater public interest finds itself up against a wall of corporate campaign cash. 

Saving Green: Addressing New York State’s Fiscal Crisis & Protecting the Environment (November, 2008)

$aving Green: Addressing New York State’ s Fiscal Crisis & Protecting the Environment outlines a few simple ways to responsibly “green” state spending and address the state’s fiscal crisis while protect- ing our natural resources. The follow-up to our first report on the state budget, Wa$ted Green, $aving Green highlights questionable spending, misaligned tax credits that promote pollution, an energy boon- doggle in the making, and a power subsidy program that removes incentives to conserve energy.

Tied Up In Knots (December, 2009)

Since its creation in 1993, the Environmental Pro- tection Fund (EPF) has been an easy target for raids by state leaders and lawmakers. Over its lifetime, three governors and several legislatures have taken nearly $500 million from the EPF. Since 2002, one in every four dollars appropriated to the Fund has been “swept” into the State’s General Fund.

EPF raids are not solely a function of New York’s decision-makers selectively redirecting resources, however. These raids are the result of a system designed to hamper state agencies’ ability to spend EPF dollars as intended, namely for environmental protection.

Recently, the Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN) – a labor backed think-tank – released a report analyzing the approximately $7 billion in economic development incentives distributed in New York State in 2011.

Governor Cuomo recently made two announcements ahead of the Memorial Day weekend that further demonstrate his ability to spend money, which is a good thing.

In Albany, we often refer to this as ‘getting the money out the door’ which anyone who has been allocated environmental protection fund (EPF) money over the past decade knows, is often much more painstakingly difficult than it would appear at first blush.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A graffiti-covered building hulks over the end of Flint Street — a dilapidated monument on a blighted landscape in southwest Rochester's Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood.

The building is part of the Vacuum Oil site, a 24-acre property along the Genesee River waterfront that once held an oil refinery (it shut down in the 1930's). In the decades that followed, parts of the site were used for various other purposes, including a junkyard.

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