Wednesday, October 21, 2009

PULP Urges Assembly to Reject Governor's Proposal to Cut PULP Funding

PULP submitted testimony today for hearings being held by the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Governor David A. Paterson's "Deficit Reduction Plan" to reduce current year expenditures, which was announced last week. The Governor's proposal for cutting local assistance appropriations includes PULP, along with many other programs that serve low-income New Yorkers.

PULP submitted testimony of its Executive Director, Gerald Norlander, addressing Committee questions regarding the impact of the proposed cuts and alternatives. The testimony

1. Opposes the Governor's proposal to cut PULP funding and asks the Assembly to continue in its longstanding support for PULP, as it has in past years with prior governors.
2. Proposes to end the ballooning cost of utility sales tax anomalies now amounting to $154 million/year in lost state revenue from utility customers when they switch to ESCOs.
3. Proposes to end the anomaly that exempts telephone service provided by cable companies from utility assessments paid by other providers using conventional phone lines.
4. Proposes to use a portion of previously unappropriated RGGI funds transferred from NYSERDA to provide additional support to PULP. See PULP Urges NYSERDA to Use RGGI Auction Revenue to Support Low Income Energy Efficiency Programs, PULP Network, January 07, 2008; $128 Million of RGGI "Cap and Trade" Revenue Unspent, PULP Network, June 22, 2009.

The State Senate will hold two hearings next week on the Governor's deficit reduction proposals, in New York City and Farmingville. According to a Senate Press Release, Senate President Malcolm A. Smith said,
"New York was among the states hit hardest by the national recession, and any plan to balance the budget must be deliberate with an eye toward our economic future. While our staff is reviewing the implications of the Governor's proposals, we're also bringing the public into the legislative process to hear what these cuts would mean to programs and services, and determine if there are better ways to close the budget gap."
Senate Holds Public Hearings on the Governor's Proposed Deficit Reduction Plan.

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