New On-Bill Financing Legislation Will Create Jobs, Reduce Energy Costs And Help Homeowners Afford Weatherization
New York State homeowners will benefit from new legislation introduced in the New York State Senate (S7565/Parker) to enhance last year’s Green Jobs/Green NY (GJ-GNY) program by providing for on-bill financing to assist families with payment and financing much-needed weatherization projects on their homes and small businesses.
Last year’s GJ-GNY I law, passed in October, set up a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative-funded (RGGI) revolving loan fund to pay for home and business retrofits. There is no cost to state or local governments. This year’s GJ-GNY II legislation would allow consumers and businesses to tap into the fund up-front, and to pay back loans automatically on their utility bills using the savings from reduced energy use.
Once fully implemented with on-bill financing, GJ-GNY will significantly reduce energy costs for up to one-million property owners, revitalize economically distressed communities, and create more than 14,000 permanent new construction and skilled labor jobs that with revitalize New York’s “Green Collar” economy. With these new skills, New York will be able to afford and undertake energy-efficiency retrofits and broader non-energy retrofits, such as low-flow water fixtures and green roofs.
By targeting the program to middle-income homeowners, GJ-GNY serves homeowners who make too much to qualify for Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) assistance money but don’t make enough to afford energy saving retrofits. Upstate, where the median income is lower, the cut-off for WAP is so low that most people can’t qualify. But those disenfranchised New Yorkers will be able to qualify for GJ-GNY, and on-bill financing will assure them better access to financing programs and rates by attracting the broadest possible variety of financing and private sector involvement.
Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), lead sponsor of this bill said, "This legislation is a vital piece of the Senate Majority's strategy of creating jobs, lowering energy bills and creating Green Collar Job career pathways. This companion legislation to the Green Jobs-Green New York program created by the Senate last October will enable that program to offer innovative financing at affordable rates for the up to one million homes that Green Jobs-Green New York will weatherize. As this year continues, and while the Senate is working to create a responsible budget that includes property tax relief, we will also continue to pass legislation that protects the planet while creating new jobs and lowering energy costs."
Deputy Majority Leader Jeffrey D. Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) said, “In this tough economic time, job creation is a top priority. By creating thousands of green jobs at no cost to the state or localities, this legislation is a shot in the arm to thousands of New Yorkers as well as our state economy.”
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-35th District) said, “Not only does this legislation help families begin weatherization projects on their homes they previously could not afford, it meets our objective in creating thousands of new, highly skilled jobs. In a struggling economy, it is important we develop innovative approaches to public policy in order to get the most benefit for New Yorkers as possible.”
Dave Johnson, Director of the Laborers' Eastern Region Organizing Fund said, "Through community, labor and employer partnerships, GJ-GNY will create true pathways out of poverty for thousands of New Yorkers by connecting them to high quality training and career ladder jobs that pay a family supporting wage at a time when jobs are all too hard to find. On-bill recovery ensures that it is a sustainable, long term program which will benefit homeowners and working families for years to come. This is a case of what is good for the environment and homeowners being good for working families."
Kate Fish, Executive Director of the Adirondack North Country Association said, “The Green Jobs/Green New York program will bring tremendous benefit to the Adirondack North Country, where home energy costs often take a higher percentage of income than in other parts of the state due to a long heating season and a large number of older homes. Allowing on-bill recovery of the costs for retrofits and efficiency improvements will make the program much more accessible to people across the region, reducing their energy bills and creating the need for more jobs to meet a growing demand for home retrofits.”
Sha'sha Wheat, VP of Hope for Us Housing Corp. in Syracuse said, “GJGNY is creating crucial new collaborations between community groups and contractors – this will help connect local residents with green jobs in struggling areas like Syracuse. The program will also provide much-needed opportunities for small and minority owned businesses to expand."
Eric Walker, Organizing Director of the People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) said, "As a community group that organizes with low and moderate income Buffalo residents, PUSH is extremely excited about the opportunities that Green Jobs/Green NY will offer to job seekers and homeowners. On bill recovery is a crucial piece of this program – it will make retrofits much more accessible to homeowners who can't qualify for regular loans."