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State listening tours on environment, business begin


Tue, May 30th 2023 03:00 pm

Hochul Kicks Off Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act Listening Tour; First Stop in Buffalo

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday launched the educational listening tour for the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act in Buffalo.

Her team said, “The educational listening tour is part of the state's commitment to a collaborative and transparent process in the delivery of Bond Act funds. The tour provides an opportunity for the public and potential funding applicants to learn more about the Bond Act, and for the community to weigh in on the draft eligibility guidelines being developed to identify potential projects.”

Hochul said, "The Environmental Bond Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fund projects across New York that will protect clean water, create good-paying jobs, protect our beautiful open spaces and promote environmental justice. This listening tour will connect communities with state agency experts to begin this collaborative and transparent process and lay the groundwork to deliver essential funding across the state."

The session featured presentations on the Bond Act and the opportunity for one-on-one discussion with representatives of New York state agencies and authorities.

The next stops on the listening tour include:

√ Central New York: June 8, from 1-3 p.m., State University of New York Cortland, Corey Union Function Room

√ Virtual meetings: June 26, 6-8 p.m. and July 26, 6-8 p.m.

√ North Country: July 14, 1-3 p.m., North Country Community College, Sparks Athletic Complex Alumni Gymnasium

√ Capital Region: July 20, 1-3 p.m., University at Albany, Campus Center Auditorium

√ Brooklyn: Aug. 9, 6-8 p.m. Brooklyn College

√ Lower Hudson: Aug. 15, 1-3 p.m., Westchester County Center, Little Theater

√ Bronx: Aug. 22, 6-8 p.m., La Central YMCA gymnasium

√ Long Island: Aug. 24, 1-3 p.m., Suffolk County Community College, Suffolk Credit Union Arena

To register for any of these sessions, visit www.ny.gov/bondact.

Hochul’s team said, “Overwhelmingly approved by voters last fall, the Bond Act prioritizes investments in environmental justice, climate change mitigation, shoreline restoration, flood resilience, water quality, open space land conservation, recreational resources and green jobs.

“The landmark Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act is the largest environmental bond in state history and the first in New York since 1996. The Bond Act will make $4.2 billion available for environmental and community projects that also support job creation and a substantial investment in the Clean Green Schools initiative that will serve more than 1,000 under-resourced public schools. Recognizing that vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by negative environmental and climate change impacts, 40% of Bond Act benefits will be directed toward disadvantaged communities.”

Specifically, the Environmental Bond Act authorizes:

√ $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation;

√ $1.1 billion for restoration and flood risk reduction;

√ $650 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure;

√ $650 million for open space land conservation and recreation; and

√ $300 million for other projects not specifically allocated in the Environmental Bond Act.

State agencies, local governments and partners will be able to access Environmental Bond Act funding over a multiyear process. An interagency working group is currently identifying needs for environmental funding across the state and developing program logistics for Bond Act implementation.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "DEC is excited to join Gov. Hochul for today's opening listening session to help foster a better understanding of the opportunities provided by the historic Bond Act and hear from the public firsthand about projects of interest in their communities. We look forward to working with Gov. Hochul and our agency partners to share information about the Bond Act across the state and lay the foundation for a successful implementation of this transformative effort."

New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, "EFC was pleased to join Gov. Hochul and our partners in state government today to engage with communities about the first funding available through the Bond Act for water infrastructure. There is $425 million in EFC grants available now for critical projects. Modern, resilient water systems are critical for the health of our communities, the protection of our natural resources, and the success of local economies. We encourage local governments to apply and take advantage of this funding."

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, "This is a defining moment in our work to create a better climate future by leveraging New York's historic environmental Bond Act to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods across the state. The listening tour enhances our ability to garner important feedback from more New Yorkers – including in historically underserved communities – giving voice to a diverse set of local climate investment priorities that will guide us in our decision making and ensure generations to come benefit from our growing green economy and more resilient communities."

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The Bond Act listening tour is a great opportunity to connect with local governments, community partners and individuals from across the state to hear their ideas and insights on the type of environmental projects that will be most significant to their communities. I look forward to these discussions and continuing to advance the Environmental Bond Act to foster a clean environment, further environmental justice, address climate change, and expand access to healthy outdoor recreation."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Direct engagement with New Yorkers for the Environmental Bond Act will lead to better projects and initiatives, protect us from a changing climate, and strengthen long-term sustainability. HCR's Office of Resilient Homes and Communities looks forward to hearing more about the priorities of community members across the state."

The Nature Conservancy's New York Director of Policy and Strategy Jessica Ottney Mahar said, "New York's $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act provides communities an extraordinary opportunity to protect clean water, reduce pollution, conserve wildlife habitat, and create good jobs. The Nature Conservancy is thrilled to be at the first stop on the listening tour that kicks off implementation of the Bond Act. This tour provides opportunities for stakeholders to learn about available funding, share perspectives on community needs, and provide input on program design. Through this exciting process, programs will be crafted to position communities throughout the state to realize the promise of the Bond Act and deliver projects that improve quality of life now, and for future generations of New Yorkers."

Hochul Announces Interagency Small Business Tour to Connect Businesses Across New York State to ‘Vital Resources & Services’; Representatives Will Stop in Utica, Troy, Buffalo & Rochester to Highlight State Programs, Services to ‘Help Small Businesses Succeed’

Hochul also announced the launch of a new small business outreach effort, led by the New York State Department of Labor, to help connect entrepreneurs to no-cost supports and services.

Her team said, “As part of the governor's continued commitment to these vital economic contributors, representatives from the New York State Department of Labor, departments of State and Tax and Finance, the Workers' Compensation Board, and Empire State Development will traverse the state to provide important information to small business owners on licensing, regulations, taxes, grants, training and more.”

Businesses can register to attend here.

"Small businesses are the core of New York's economy – creating local jobs, reenergizing neighborhoods, and bringing communities together," Hochul said. "We are excited to bring no-cost resources directly to small businesses across the state to ensure they get the support they deserve."

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "Our small businesses are the heartbeat of communities and play a vital role in our economy. The New York State Department of Labor offers a variety of no-cost resources that can help small businesses remain competitive in the global market. I encourage entrepreneurs to attend one of these sessions to learn more about how New York state can help you be successful."

Hochul’s team said, “The tour features stops in Utica, Troy, Rochester and Buffalo, and is part of New York state's effort to advance, support and strengthen smaller operations that continue to have a significant economic impact in their local communities.”

The small business tour will make the following stops:

√ Tuesday, June 6, 8:30 a.m. – Mohawk Valley Community College, Information Technology Center, Utica

√ Tuesday, June 6, 5:30 p.m. – Hudson Valley Community College, Bulmer Telecommunications Center, Troy

√ Tuesday, June 13, 8:30 a.m. – Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni & Visitor Center, 667 Grant St., Buffalo

√ Wednesday, June 14, 8:30 a.m. – Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, 161 Chestnut St., Rochester

Small businesses interested in attending can register via the Small Business Tour registration form.

NYSDOL offers several services to support businesses of any size across New York state. Its business services representatives work with entrepreneurs to create customized solutions to help meet their business goals. The department also offers free human resource service consultations, and assists with workforce recruitment to help employers find skilled workers. NYSDOL offers guidance on hiring incentives, tax credits and funding opportunities that can help employers curb costs.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Supporting small business growth is core to our mission at Empire State Development, and we're excited to join this multiagency effort to showcase all of the resources and services we offer to help them thrive. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the New York state economy, and their success is our success."

New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "The Department of State is proud to partner with our partner agencies in bringing government resources straight to the people of New York. Our licensing and corporations divisions provides opportunities and resources to our small businesses to enable them to grow while also contributing to our economy."

New York State Workers' Compensation Board Chair Clarissa M. Rodriguez said, "The board is dedicated to helping New York's small businesses succeed by educating them on their rights and responsibilities under the Workers' Compensation Law, and supporting them if issues arise. We're proud to have the opportunity to work alongside other state agencies to ensure small businesses have the tools and information they need to thrive."

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Amanda Hiller said, "At the Tax Department, we want to make sure that small business owners – who are such vital players in our economy – are able to compete on a level playing field, so we strive to ensure that tax compliance is as straightforward as possible."

The press release added, “Hochul continues to back initiatives designed to make New York the most worker-friendly and small business-friendly state in the nation. The governor invested more than $1 billion to support New York's small business community and accelerate the state's pandemic recovery, including the $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, $200 million Seed Funding Grant Program, and $550 million federal State Small Business Credit Initiative. The governor also secured an additional $1 billion in funding to invest in local economies as part of the fiscal year 2024 budget, including $225 million in grant funding and tax credits for the Regional Economic Development Councils, $100 million each to fund an additional year of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward, $50 million for the RESTORE New York Communities Initiative, $400 million for the NYWORKS Economic Development Fund, and almost $200 million for projects that support community growth and enhancement.

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