What if you could create fourteen thousand new jobs, and save New Yorkers one billion dollars on energy bills at the same time, without additional cost to taxpayers?
A bill that I co-sponsored and which passed in the State Senate last week will do just that.
The Green Jobs/Green New York initiative will get to the heart of two of Central New York’s biggest issues—the availability of permanent, skilled jobs and high energy costs.
With the approach of colder weather, Upstate New Yorkers conduct the same ritual each year, preparing for a long winter. We know our doors and windows may not be as airtight as we would like, or houses as energy efficient as possible, and that less than efficient construction leads to increased energy costs.
Green Jobs/Green New York aims to weatherize one million homes, businesses and not-for-profits in the next five years by establishing a revolving loan program to provide up to $13,000 for residential homes and $26,000 for businesses to retrofit for increased energy efficiency.
Because of increased demand for services, local contractors will be able to expand their crews, creating new and permanent jobs in green construction and additional jobs in local businesses and manufacturing that serve those new workers—a perfect fit for Central New York’s needs.
In addition to creating jobs and reducing energy costs for consumers, the Green Jobs/Green New York program will have a positive impact on our environment by reducing our carbon footprint.
The program is being funded from the sale of carbon credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and will not require any additional taxpayer dollars. I believe this is exactly the kind of creative thinking we need to weather the economic crisis we have been facing.
This program has great potential, and received bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly. My colleague, Senator Darrel Aubertine, who was the prime sponsor of the bill, and I were joined by two of our other regional Senators, Senator Joseph Griffo from Rome and Senator James Seward from Oneonta, in support of this important and forward-thinking program.
I look forward to seeing the benefits of this program in our communities very soon.
For more information about the Green Jobs/Green New York program, you can visit the my web site at www.valesky.nysenate.gov.
Senator David Valesky (D-Oneida) represents the 49th district and serves as the Vice-President Pro-Tempore of the New York State Senate.