We have a budget!
New York finally has a state budget for 2023-2024 tapping in around $229 billion. It was over a month late, but the final budget had some notable differences from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget proposed earlier. For one, carve-outs for Adirondack projects were put back in the $400 million Environmental Protection Fund.
You can read our round-up of some of the funding highlights for the Adirondacks here.
More budget reactions
Some projects once funded in the Environmental Protection Fund were moved to the Aid to Localities budget bill. For example, funding to subsidize Hamilton and Essex counties to keep landfills out of the park was switched to there. The Adirondack Diversity Initiative was also moved to that bill. New Yorkers for Clean Water and Jobs created a handy spreadsheet that shows you what was in the 2022-2023 budget, what was proposed for 2023-2024 by the executive, Assembly and Senate, and what made it in the final.
The Adirondack Diversity Initiative notably received $120,000 more than the last fiscal year. The new bump will help fund the program’s policing initiative, which we wrote about last year. In a news release, ADI Director Tiffany Rea-Fisher said:
“Your budget shows your values, so the fact that the State is valuing this region, not only from a place of recreation but from a diversity perspective, safety perspective, and education perspective — that means that it truly understands the important role this region will play in the State’s future.”
The budget included statewide climate and environmental initiatives, including $500 million for clean water infrastructure. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said:
“The Budget’s new climate initiatives prioritize affordability and support innovative ways to achieve our ambitious renewable energy requirements as the state transitions from fossil fuel sources. With these and other ongoing responsibilities, the infusion of over 200 new staff in the budget will be instrumental in helping DEC continue to fulfill our mission, particularly the work underway to implement the Clean Air, Clean Water and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act and enact an economy-wide Cap-and-Invest Program to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. DEC looks forward to our ongoing work to build a greener, equitable, and sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”
State Sen. Dan Stec was not happy with the budget, and did not highlight any bright spots in a news release about it. Stec, R-Queensbury, is particularly concerned with affordability for New York residents. He thought the $229 billion price tag “only exacerbates” the problem of people leaving for other states. He was also disappointed that the budget did not address the reuse of closed prisons, like Moriah Shock. Stec said:
“Governor Hochul and Democrat Legislative leaders had more than ample time to enact a responsible budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers. Instead, they passed what is arguably the worst budget I’ve seen in my 11 years in the Legislature.”
This first appeared in Gwen’s “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.