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Farm Funding in NYS Environmental Bond Act

 

Proposed Environmental Bond Act Would Definitely Help Farms

But is New York Prepared for More Debt?

 

As we all know, elected officials are on the ballot on Election Day on November 8th.  What many might not know is that there is also a vote on a $4.2 billion Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act for New York.

This bond act measure is the first time since 1996 that New York residents will have an opportunity to decide whether the state should borrow money to address concerns dealing with the environment, climate change, conservation and wildlife protection.

If approved by voters this November, the Bond Act would fund many projects including drinking water infrastructure, municipal wastewater projects, climate change mitigation and open space protection.  Included, alongside this spending in the bond act is funding for farmers to address soil health, farm water quality and farmland protection programs.

Pertinent New York Farm Bureau member-driven policy supports bond acts, “…as way for New York State to complete existing state farmland protection program grants and to meet existing funding needs of the agricultural non-point source pollution control program.”

New York Farm Bureau policy also,” …recommend(s) that bond issues should only be for specific capital investments, not used for operating or maintenance expenses.”

Both of these policies are supported by the proposed Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act for New York.

One last policy speaks to the process for voting, “We believe that bond issues should be presented to the voters as individual components, each judged on its own merits.”  In case of this particular bond act, this is not the case.

It is imperative that New York Farm Bureau member turn out to vote their conscious in elections and in response to bond acts.  This proposed Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act for New York for the most part meets the standard of New York Farm Bureau’s policy and would certainly help farmers with critical (and required) water quality projects, help to establish on-farm practices to protect against climate change and protect farmland. However, voters must also be comfortable with taking on over $4 billion in new debt for New York State. 

In the end, the most important thing is to make sure you vote on Election Day in November!

 

By:  Jeff Williams, NYFB Public Policy Director

First printed in the October issue of Grassroots