New Yorkers Will Vote on An Environmental Bond Act for The First Time in 26 Years.!

New Yorkers Will Vote on An Environmental Bond Act for The First Time in 26 Years.!

On Tuesday, November 8, during the approaching midterm elections, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to support a greener future for their state.

If voters approve Proposition #1, the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022, they would give New York the go-ahead to issue state bonds worth $4.2 billion to fund initiatives aimed at lowering the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, preserving the environment, and improving its resilience to the effects of climate change.

It’s difficult to avoid feeling down about the escalating climate crisis. But rather than hand wringing, action is required. Blair Horners, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, stated in a statement reported by WAMC Northeast Public Radio that Prop #1 advances New York’s efforts to prepare the state for the mounting challenges posed by the climate.

New Yorkers Will Vote on An Environmental Bond Act for The First Time in 26 Years.!

According to Gotham Gazette, the legislation was really approved by the state legislature and governor Kathy Hochul as a component of the state budget for 2022. Voters must approve any proposal that will increase the bond debt of New York State. According to The Guardian, the initiative is the first environmental bond legislation to be on the New York ballot in 26 years.

If approved, the Proposal Would:

  1. Put at least $1.5 billion towards mitigating climate change.
  2. Put at least $1.1 billion towards flood prevention and natural restoration.
  3. Put at least $650 million towards creating more green spaces and conserving nature.
  4. Put at least $650 million towards improving water quality and infrastructure.

The climate mitigation initiatives would allocate at least $500 million for electric school buses, lower emissions from state-owned structures and farms, increase city heat-wave resistance through cooling centers and green space, and reduce pollution in underserved areas.

According to Jessica Ottney Mahar, director of policy and strategy at the Nature Conservancy, “New Yorkers haven’t had this opportunity to vote for environmental financing in a generation. The bond act is concentrated on very significant concerns that affect all of our communities.

The Democratic Party and a number of advocacy groups are among the act’s backers, who claim that it will finance urgently needed improvements that will strengthen the state’s resistance to storms like 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, which killed 44 people in the state and cut power to 2.5 million people, as Horner pointed out.

New Yorkers Will Vote on An Environmental Bond Act for The First Time in 26 Years.!

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In addition to Sandy, climate-related disasters have cost the state between $50 and $100 billion over the previous 20 years, according to a federal estimate from 2022. The state’s infrastructure, including its lead pipes, will be updated thanks to the bond proceeds.

It’s time for some upgrades because many New Yorkers still rely on infrastructure that was built 100 years ago, Ottney Mahar told The Guardian.

The Conservative Party and other fiscal conservatives are the principal opponents of the initiative, arguing against taking on extra debt.

New Yorkers do not require an additional $4.2 billion in public debt or the ensuing debt service, according to a statement made by the chair of the state’s Conservative Party, Gerard Kassar, as quoted by Gotham Gazette.

The most outspoken and well-organized supporters, however, argue that this perspective is limited. According to one research, the bond might generate 84,000 jobs. Additionally, according to Ottney Mahar, who spoke to The Guardian, the funds would make it simpler for New York to acquire monies from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, both of which need matching state funds for federal support.

Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, remarked, “It’s good debt,” according to the Gotham Gazette.

New Yorkers Will Vote on An Environmental Bond Act for The First Time in 26 Years.!

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Voters appear to be in agreement with her thus far. In a study conducted by the Siena Research Institute in mid-October, people backed the idea 54% rejected it by 26%.

According to Laura Rabinow, deputy director of research at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, climate change is a crucial topic for voters everywhere, not only in New York and the United States, as The Guardian noted. The objectives, in my opinion, are a reflection of the growing unanimity.