Friday, February 16, 2007

Spitzer's budget plan protects the environment

The Albany Times Union.Com Letter to the Editor

Another campaign promise that Spitzer is putting into motion........andy

The unveiling of Gov. Eliot Spitzer's first budget was a chance for the environmental community to exhale an audible sigh of relief. That's because Governor Spitzer's campaign vows to safeguard the environment were clearly reflected in the budget he proposes.
A first read of the budget shows a proposed much awaited update to the bottle bill and expansion of the state's core environmental funding source, the Environmental Protection Fund, by at least $100 million over the next two years, to $325 million.
The other piece of important news is that the budget supports the restoration of 166 key staff positions at various state environmental and conservation agencies. A decade of heedless and counter-productive attrition had cut into the meat and bones of the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's ability to carry out their missions.
Before a definitive sigh of relief can be exhaled, we must hope that the Byzantine legislative horse-trading that marked the budget deliberation process of the past decade is now history. It is imperative for the Assembly and the Senate to find enough common ground to pass a final budget that supports Governor Spitzer's proposal for clean water, clean air and open space for our communities.
Our new governor seems firmly committed to tackling the exponentially more complex environmental challenges and opportunities facing New York. His budget shows he's passed the first test.
Executive Director

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