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New York State Senate Somme Faia cose Memorandum To: Senate Environmental Qonservation Committee Senator Carl L. Marcellino Wednesday, February 04, 2009 Subject: Sign on Letter on the EPF Dear colleagues: Attached is a letter Iam planning to send to the Governor requesting that the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RET) be retained as the funding source for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). If you are interested in joining with me on this letter, please contact Justin at ext. 2390 by Friday at 11 am. Thank you cova) YORE ELON STATE OF NEW YORK aE NENON. WeOTTORE E, SENATOR CARL L. MARCELLINO vn saure stHoisiRcr es February 4, 2009 Governor David Paterson State Capitol Albany, NY 12247 Dear Governor Paterson’ Lam writing in support of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), and to urge you to reject the disproportional cuts as budget negotiations continue. A clean and healthy environment provides immeasurable benefits to the State’s residents and visitors, in addition to being an important economic engine. Since 1993, the EPF provided a consistent end an increasing level of funding for New York’s environmental agenda. 1am asking you to provide the BPF with a fair and equitable funding level to ensure the ability of the State to continue the impressive environmental achievements accomplished previously with Fund monies. Your EPF funding proposal sets environmental projects back a decade. The law requires the EPF to be funded at $300 million As we face the harsh fiscal realities of the State, I urge you to carefully consider the economic benefits created by the EPF. For example, vitally important to the economies and job creation of their cities and regions are zoos, botanical gardens, and aquaria. The elimination of their funding in your SFY 2009-2010 EPF proposal will result in job losses and reduced tourism dollars. The EPF’s solid waste programs help support municipal recycling programs, reduce local taxes, and keeping recyclables out of our landfills. New York's 1.2 million birders and “wildlife watchers” contributed an estimated $1.6 billion to the State economy in 2006, with $250 million in State sales tax revenue. These activities often occur on lands acquired with EPF open space money. Also, the Depart ment of Environmental Conservation’ Draft Open Space Plan states “Parks, beaches, scenic landscapes, historie sites, , streams and coastal areas are central to New York State tourism and travel industry.” Out-of- State visitors to State Parks and Historic Sites spent appropriately $500 million with area businesses, generating $20 million in tax revenues. Research shows that land protection decreases municipal water treatment costs by close to twenty percent with every ten percent increase in forest cover. Iam opposed to the expansion of the Bottle Return Law and am even more adamant in my opposition to your proposal to substitute the unclaimed Bottle Deposits for EPF's current funding from the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT). It is bad public policy to remove RETT support from the EPF. As the BPF’s original source of funding, the RETT was selected based on the 3 environmental impacts of suburban sprawl and that the programs within the EPF that would mitigate these affects. I believe that the rationale behind RETT support is sound and it should remain as a steady dedicated funding source. Recently at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing, the environmental community condemned your proposal to substitute unreliable unclaimed bottle deposits for solid RETT funding with concems on the long-term financial impact and stability of the EPF. New York’s natural resources — our forever wild forests, the grandeur of the Great Lakes, and the wonders of our oceans - go beyond providing economic benefits, they offer our residents and their children’s children an immeasurable recreational and intrinsic value. It is all of these benefits that I urge you to consider as you negotiate an increased EPF with RETT support. Sincerely, Carl L. Marcellino Brian X. Foley Senator Senator Owen H. Johnson Vincent L. Leibel Senator Senator Elizabeth Little ‘Suzi Oppenheimer Senator Senator Kevin 8. Parker Bill Perkins Senator Senator Eric T. Schneiderman Jose M. Serrano Senator Senator Andrea Stewart- Cousins Antoine Thompson Senator Senator