Governor Rejects Energy Conservation Initiative
Governor Pataki continued his attacks on the Legislature’s budget today, handing down fifty-six line-item vetoes in the areas of environmental and energy conservation, transportation, affordable housing and economic and agricultural development.
Today’s vetoes come a day after the Governor struck sixteen measures from the Public Protection budget. Upon examining today’s actions, Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D – Ulster, Dutchess) seized upon the Governor’s decision to eliminate a pilot program created by the Legislature that would have provided funding to schools and other public facilities to help improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel costs.
“Sadly, this is what we have come to expect from Governor Pataki,” said Assembymember Cahill. “He began the year touting energy independence as a critical component to New York’s future success, but when it came to actually funding innovative efficiency and conservation initiatives the Governor decided to pull the plug.”
The New York Investment in Conservation and Efficiency Pilot Program was created for the purpose of the installation of energy conservation and clean fuel technologies aimed at reducing energy usage and operating costs for municipal buildings, public schools, state universities and public safety facilities. The project came about in response to the escalating energy costs that crippled school and municipal budgets across the state in the past year.
“We are emerging from a winter that saw schools and local governments scrambling to make ends meet in the face of the highest utility bills in recent memory,” said Mr. Cahill. “There is no sign of fuel costs dropping anytime soon and if the state does not step in and provide the means necessary to modernize our facilities, it is ultimately going to be the local property taxpayers who will suffer.”
Overall, the Governor has promised more than $2 billion in vetoes. It is anticipated that the Governor will reject the Legislature’s child tax credit and property tax rebate plan. “Unfortunately, today’s vetoes are probably just the beginning of what promises to be an all-out assault on the taxpayers of New York,” Mr. Cahill concluded.