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Long Island News

New York Democrats push Hochul on environmental funding in the state budget

Governor Kathy Hochul announces the groundbreaking for Phase Two of the $700 million state-of-the-art Ronkonkoma Hub, a major mixed-use development in the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County.
Kevin P. Coughlin
/
Office of the New York Governor
Governor Kathy Hochul announces the groundbreaking for Phase Two of the $700 million state-of-the-art Ronkonkoma Hub, a major mixed-use development in the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County.

New York lawmakers want to expand the state’s annual commitment to funding environmental projects beyond Governor Kathy Hochul’s $4 billion budget proposal.

In 2019, the state promised $3 billion to its Environmental Bond Act for water and sewer infrastructure projects, which have become more important because of extreme weather due to climate change.

This year, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed increasing that annual fund by $1 billion.

Democrats in charge of the state Legislature want to double the original promise; the state Assembly included $5 billion and the state Senate included $6 billion for the environmental borrowing plan.

The funding of local projects by the Environmental Bond Act was disrupted by the pandemic given the financial uncertainty of the state.

Now, the state is flush with cash from federal assistance, and some advocates want $15 billion for climate justice funding.

Whichever proposal is accepted into the budget that’s due April 1 would then need final approval by voters in a referendum.