In case you missed it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that he would not be putting the $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act on the November ballot this year.
Cuomo said he was postponing it, due to the state’s dire finances. Though the bond act passed the state Legislature this year, a provision in the state budget said if finances were poor, the state budget director has the authority to pull the bond act from a public vote. That move, however, effectively kills the bond act.
Cuomo can’t really postpone it. The bond act will have to get approved again by the state Legislature. Considering the state has a $30 billion deficit over the next two years, it’s hard to say what will happen.
Some environmental groups argued that the bond act could have helped jumpstart the economy, funding clean energy jobs and helping the state meet its demanding greenhouse gas emissions reductions.It’s a hard sell to ask voters to take on more debt when local governments and schools are facing unprecedented cuts. Climate change is happening, though, and as President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “Government can’t continue treating the environment as a luxury–it is a critical asset.” Maybe it would have been good to let voters decide.
The bond act was already up against criticism, however, for not being more specific on what projects it would fund. Maybe that will be something government officials will hash out for next year. It would be helpful to have more clarification if the bond act would fund, for example, specific trail maintenance and upgrades in the Adirondacks. We know that is needed.
Editor’s note: This originally appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” email newsletter. Click here to subscribe.