ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — A whopping 3.5 million New Yorkers voted in favor of the Environmental Bond Act. Critics say this isn’t what’s financially best for New Yorkers, but advocates disagree.
“The environmental bond act is a historic investment to make sure that every New Yorker has clean water, cleaner air and that we create tens and thousands of green jobs across the state,” said Robert Hayes, Director of Clean Water Environmental Advocates NY.
But the Bond Act comes with a price tag: $4.2 billion dollars in borrowed money. Members of the Republican and Conservative parties have said New York is already facing a major debt and that the interest rates on those bonds could be at a higher rate than normal and eventually trickle down to taxpayers.
Jessica Ottney Mahar with the Nature Conservancy says this Bond Act is part of the state’s budget, and costs in the market will fluctuate, but that’s something the state will have to account for. “The way that the states going to implement the Bond Act will absolutely be impacted by these externalities that exist in the economy and so the pace of spending and the way that the Bond Act is utilized will be affected by that, but I will say this is a long term funding program the goal is to make sure that there’s sustainable funding for many years for the environment,” said Mahar.
Patrick McCullen with the League of Conservation Voters said these are smart investments for worthwhile projects, “It’s not a case where we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, it’s a case where we’re borrowing to pay for really important investments that are going to pay for themselves over time and it’s just a question of how are we spreading out those costs and that’s what borrowing allows us to do.”
The Governor’s office has assigned an agency group to begin identifying which areas in New York need this funding for projects.