With the legislative session in Albany winding down there is still a lot of action to keep up with. A number of bills are still pending that have the potential to generate new opportunities to protect farmland, strengthen the Environmental Protection Fund and enhance farm profitability. Below is a brief summary of a few bills and ways to take action in support of them!
S. 05358/A. 7659 – Wine Industry and Liquor Store Development Act
Supports the sale of wine in grocery stores and new economic opportunities for liquor and wine stores and New York’s wine and grape industry. Would generate up to $2 million annually for New York’s Farmland Protection Program and $1 million for the Wine and Grape Foundation to market New York wines.
For more information and to take action visit the New York League of Conservation Voters website.
A. 7137/S. 5403 – Transitioning Bottle Bill Revenue to the Environmental Protection Fund
Proposes to increase allocations for the Environmental Protection Fund by transferring unclaimed deposits generated by the Bottle Bill. New York State collects about $115 million from unclaimed deposits annually. The revenue would be phased in over four years starting in State Fiscal Year 2012-13. Bottle Bill revenue would supplement the traditional source of funding for the EPF, the Real Estate Transfer Tax.
For more information and take action: Friends of Environment sign-on letter in support of the legislation will be distributed on 6/13.
A. 5663/S. 4056 – Expanding Awareness of the Environmental Protection Fund
Increases awareness of New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) by requiring EPF contracts to include provisions to maximize awareness of the use of EPF funds but would not require the expenditure of any additional expenditures. The bill has passed the Assembly and is through committees and on a calendar in the Senate.
For more information and take action: Send a letter of support to your state senator.
S. 5179/A. 6554 – Extending Towns’ Authority to Make Installment Payments
Permanently authorizes towns’ to make installment purchases of land or other interests in land. Some towns have used this authority to make installment purchases of agricultural conservation easements.
For more information and take action: Send a letter of support to your state assemblymember and senator.
S. 4340/A. 5286 – Farmers Regulatory Relief Act
Reduces farm-based taxes, fees and regulatory burdens to help grow the agricultural economy and benefit family farms. Creates a refundable investment tax credit to encourage farm investment, exempts farm wineries from reporting requirements, eases MTA taxes and fees, reduces taxes and fees for farm vehicles.
For more information and take action, visit the New York Farm Bureau website.