Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Prison property tax bill stalls

Prison closures in the Adirondacks and around the state continue to be an issue for state lawmakers.

Last week, state Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, ushered legislation through the Senate that would authorize a constitutional amendment for Camp Gabriels. Camp Gabriels, a Franklin County prison closed in 2009, cannot be redeveloped by a private entity without a constitutional amendment. The property is now technically on forest preserve, lands the state cannot sell or lease. A constitutional amendment has passed the Senate multiple times, but it hasn’t passed the state Assembly. The legislation gets another chance at that second step this session.

Another prison closed in the park, Moriah Shock in Essex County, is in the same situation. State Assemblyman Matthew Simpson, R-Horicon, introduced legislation that would have provided communities tax revenue for closed prisons. The bill will likely not make a floor vote this session, however. Simpson blamed Democrats. Six Democrats voted to hold the bill in committee, while three Republicans voted against the hold.

“I am flustered by the interference of partisan politics in what is otherwise apolitical legislation that unilaterally helps residents across the state,” Simpson said in a news release. “My goal was to hold New York responsible for the dozens of closed correctional facilities throughout the state that are currently squeezing taxpayers. We have to hold the state accountable for the facilities it abruptly closes down which leaves hundreds of corrections officers and staff unemployed or forced to relocate. The closure of these facilities has had destructive consequences on surrounding communities.”

You can read the bill language and see the committee votes by clicking here.

Aerial shot of Camp Gabriels from the Almanack archive

This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.

3 Responses

  1. robert a miller says:

    What about the former prison in Mt McGregor?

  2. Gwen,
    Thanks for reporting on this. As an out-of-stater, I would find it helpful to read a brief but concise explanation as to why the Democrats voted to hold the bill in committee.

  3. Roger McLaughlin says:

    The theory of the bill sounds good, but who will be responsible for what entity buys the tract? There has to be some control and accountability for the “benefits” for the surrounding area.

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