Environmental Protection Fund
Since it was created in 1993, New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to protect open space, revitalize waterfronts, support recycling, preserve farmland, enhance water quality, and help connect New Yorkers with the outdoors. The program, financed primarily through New York's real estate transfer tax, has also contributed to economic development and generated thousands of jobs for New Yorkers.
ADK helped craft the original EPF legislation and has worked every year since to ensure that critical environmental programs receive adequate state funding. During the current state fiscal year, the EPF is providing $134 million for environmental programs, including $17.5 million to purchase land and conservation easements and $16 million for stewardship of state-owned land. The stewardship funding is particularly important tor ADK because it helps support our Professional Trail Crew and Summit Steward Program.
On January 14, 2014 Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his proposed budget for fiscal year 2014–2015 for New York State. The proposed budget shows a small increase in funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which occurs in the context of a rebound in the real estate transfer tax (RETT), the main source of funding for the EPF. From a collection of $1.1 billion, the RETT fell to $400 million at the depth of the recession. Last year (while the economy was still in recovery) the EPF was funded at $153 million.
Since the RETT has rebounded to a projected collection of $1 billion, ADK, with other conservation groups, requested a reasonable increase of $47 million for the FY 2014–2015 budget. This increase would fund the EPF at $200 million. Yet in spite of the significant RETT rebound, the proposed budget adds only $4 million to the EPF for a total of $157 million. The extra funding from the rebounded RETT is now going to the state’s general fund instead of to the EPF. While the $4 million increase to the EPF is a start, it is simply not enough to meet the existing need, and it does not reflect the rebound of the RETT.We need you to help us increase the EPF to $200 million in the FY 2014–2015 budget. Take Action!
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