Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D - Ulster / Dutchess), Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, and Senator Darrel Aubertine, Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, continued the discussion on the future of New York State's low cost power economic development programs today in Kingston. The roundtable is part of a series of meetings and hearings being held around the state to collect input from businesses, trade groups and the public to help shape legislation that will guide the allocation of resources from the New York Power Authority.
"New York's low cost power programs, while instrumental in helping to create and protect hundreds of thousands of jobs, have failed to keep pace with a rapidly evolving economic landscape," said Assemblyman Cahill. "We need to overhaul these initiatives to make sure they are addressing the needs of emerging industries and providing businesses with the stability and continuity they need to make the investments that will create jobs here in New York."
"These programs have been instrumental in creating and sustaining jobs throughout New York State, but we recognize that there is a great deal of room for improvement," Sen. Aubertine said. "Through these roundtables and hearings, we are gathering input from the stakeholders to give them a seat at the table in drafting legislation that will give businesses the certainty they need from a long term program and benefits that maximize our resources to create and sustain even more jobs."
Led by the Energy Committees in the Assembly and Senate, lawmakers have been traveling the state as part of the "Powering New York's Future" initiative, meeting with business leaders, trade groups, advocates and the general public to better understand the value of the Power Authority's programs and consider new ideas about how to improve them. The law authorizing several of the programs, including Power for Jobs, is set to expire during the spring of 2010.
"We need practical, common-sense, economic development programs that reward the average consumer with better, more efficient, and less costly energy. I look forward to working with Assemblyman Cahill and my colleagues on this important issue," said Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Greenburgh).
"Ongoing discussions regarding ways to make our state more energy efficient and cost affordable for businesses and families is essential to building a better New York. Assemblyman Cahill and I share a great bipartisan working relationship in our efforts to enact important energy legislation, such as making the successful Power for Jobs Program permanent and offering improved low cost energy programs for our industries that improve our economy and create jobs. Together, I know we can make New York a more business-friendly state for those companies that want to locate right here in the Hudson Valley," said Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R,I,C - Red Hook).
"These programs need reform; simply extending them for another year is no longer an option," said Assemblyman Cahill. "This open dialogue is about creating a viable, attractive long term low cost power initiative that will encourage new development here in the Hudson Valley and throughout the State."
Earlier this year, the Governor signed legislation (A.9039 - Cahill / S.6031 - Aubertine) continuing the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs through May 15, 2010. The bill contained provisions aimed at jumpstarting the process of reforming the economic development initiatives.
Key Provisions of the Legislation:
extended the expiring Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs through May 15, 2010;
required that the Power Authority in coordination with the Department of Economic Development provide reports detailing the information necessary to assess the existing low cost power programs including a review of the performance of all program participants to date;
required that a representative sample of all beneficiaries of the Authority's low cost power programs undergo an Authority funded comprehensive energy audit,
required the Power Authority to issue a report to the Governor and the Legislative Leaders on the energy audit program; and
provided for expedited renewal of the benefits provided under these programs.
"We understand how vital low cost power programs are to the success of New York's economy. That is why we are committed to creating a new, permanent program in the coming year," Assemblyman Cahill concluded.