Albany — November voters will decide whether the state should borrow $4.2 billion for capital projects to fight climate change and protect the environment and public health in what will be the largest environmental fund in state history. increase.
Here are some facts to consider when voting for the proposed Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bonds Act of 2022.
What is Bond Act?
A bond act is a borrowing from an investor to get a return on their investment. Rather than being based on revenues such as tolls from new bridges, environmental bond laws are backed by the state’s credit rating and taxing capacity. Under the state constitution, voters must approve this general debt borrowing. This differs from the more common state borrowing, which avoids voting, as it is done through state public agencies.
how is it used?
The law states that loans will be paid for “certain capital projects intended to protect, enhance, or restore New York’s natural resources and improve the environment to mitigate the effects of climate change.” increase. At least $1.1 billion will be used to repair flood damage and reduce flood risk. An additional $650,000 will be used to purchase and preserve open space and farmland for conservation and recreation. $1.5 billion will be used to address climate change, and his $650,000 will be used to improve water quality and sewage systems, including on Long Island. The fund also builds “resilient infrastructure” to withstand increasingly severe storms, such as 2012’s superstorm Sandy and his 2011 two-weekly hurricanes, Irene and Lee. I will also cover the cost. Environmental projects include protecting habitats for endangered species.
Are there other environmental bond laws?
According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, voters have approved 10 environmental bond laws since the early 20th century. “In total, the previous bond law obliged about $5.7 billion, or about $30 billion in adjusted $2020,” according to the Institute’s research.
The latest Environmental Bond Law was approved in 1996. The $1.75 billion borrowing was facilitated by the government at the time. Republican George Pataki.
The 2022 Bond Act, which will be voted on in November, is a revised effort. Under former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a $3 billion bond bill was proposed for ballot last year, but Cuomo delayed it due to state financial stress from the COVID-19 pandemic. . This year, Gov. Kathy Hochul increased spending and renamed the law.
Is environmental bonding behavior popular?
Of the state’s 11 environmental protection laws, only one from 1990 was rejected by voters, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government. The rest passed with plenty of time to spare.
What are the arguments in favor of the bond law?
Broad proponents say huge spending is needed to combat global warming and other public health threats. The Bond Act builds and improves sanitary and storm sewers to protect drinking water sources while protecting coastlines and communities against more hurricanes and floods.
Proponents say the need for large capital projects exceeds what the state’s annual budget can afford. An environmental advocate in New York called the bond law “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect clean water, renew infrastructure, build parks and improve quality of life in every county in the state.”
The bond law will create up to 84,000 direct and indirect jobs, or 9,400 full-time and part-time jobs for every $1 billion spent, according to research by infrastructure consulting firm AECOM. We plan to devote 35% of the funds to environmental justice for “disadvantaged communities.” Often inner-city areas that were once forced to host garbage incinerators and other projects, causing more pollution to low-income neighborhoods.
What are your reasons for opposing the law of obligations?
Fiscal conservatives argue that the bond law encourages overspending and overborrowing in the state, and several parts of the state, including Long Island, have the highest taxes in the nation. But even fiscal conservatives support the idea of putting major debt proposals to a popular vote. The independent Citizens Budget Committee makes no recommendations to voters about the bond law. But a government oversight group said that while the need for funding was clear, states should publish project needs assessments and assess future progress to ensure funds are used effectively. .