Although the state budget is not completed, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-I-C – Batavia) announced an agreement has been reached regarding the Transportation, Economic Development, and Environmental Conservation parts of the budget. The corresponding budget bills were passed today by the Assembly, with Hawley’s support.
“There are many good things in this part of the budget for Western New York – particularly for our economy and for farmers. As a former family farmer myself, I know that agriculture is really the backbone of our economy and I am thrilled to be delivering such good news,” stated Hawley, who serves on the Assembly Agriculture Committee and served on this year’s Joint Budget Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Housing.
While the Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation budget spends less than in years passed, the All Funds spending is increased by $182 million, or 1.3 percent over last year’s budget. More important, Hawley pointed out, the budget delivers for New York’s agriculture, particularly in Western New York.
Highlights of the bill include:
- $4.3 million for the New York Farm Viability Institute
- A $505,000 addition, for a total of $750,000, for the Center for Dairy Excellence
- A total of $1.3 million for Cornell Quality Milk Promotion Services
- $30,000 for the New York Agriculture Land Trust revolving loan fund
- $450,000 for Cornell Cattle Health Assurance Program
- $300,000 restoration for Western New York economic development marketing efforts
- An addition of $5 million, for a total of $255 million, for the Environmental Protection Fund (including $30,000 for farmland protection)
- $1 million for expenses related to the enactment of laws regarding the recent New York Racing Association agreement
- Adding $4 million for the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, for a total of $33 million
Additionally, Hawley applauded the agreement restoring or increasing funding for the Cornell Cooperative Programs, as well as to provide for the continuation of the Buffalo Bills football team.
“This part of the budget is certainly a good thing for Western New York and I can only hope that the rest of the budget is delivered promptly and provides real measures to protect taxpayers and to exhibit the same fiscal restraint we have shown here. There is no doubt that the budget, in total, can be both fiscally responsible and provide for our communities,” commented Hawley.