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The $100 million is a good start. But itís not going to do very much more than scratch the surface the first year.

Green groups want more from Cuomo partnership plan

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Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a green jobs plan in his State of the State address that includes $100 million dollars to promote smart growth and sustainability projects. While environmental groups like the idea, some say it's under-funded from the start. The Innovation Trail's Dan Bazile has more.

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John Sheehan, from the environmental group Adirondack Council, says he¿d like Governor Andrew Cuomo to reconsider his green jobs proposal.  Sheehan says, “The amount of money is limited. The $100 million is a good start. But it’s not going to do very much more than scratch the surface the first year.”

The 100 million dollars will be available in the form of competitive grants. As the governor outlined in his State of the State address,  the money will go to local private sector partnerships. Cuomo says those partnerships will then present plans to create green jobs, and reduce pollution while helping the environment. The best plans will be rewarded. Sheehan believes a lot of communities will benefit. But he wants to know more.  “This can help with the transportation sector, emissions control, energy efficiency and cutting down the total amount of fuel that communities are using.” Sheehan said it’s  a “laudable goal,”  adding, “We’d like to see some details on this.”

 The details will be released in the governor’s first budget proposal due February first. But Sheehan says the concept isn’t new. He says some communities in the Adirondacks have already received grants from other pots of government money to help spur economic growth through green jobs. But he believes it could be better, “Given that tourism is such a huge portion of the state’s economy, we think the state has some opportunities here to help increase private and public sector employment in places where it’s really needed by using money that will help both the economy and the environment at the same time.”

Sheehan says the governor should tap into the Environmental Protection Fund — about 300 million dollars this coming year —  to help strengthen this program.

Meanwhile, Michael Tucker, CEO for the Center for Economic Growth, says two million New Yorkers have left the state over the past decade. Tucker says there needs to be a new approach at every level to retain people and create new jobs. He says it seems like the governor gets it. “I think it’s innovative, it’s responsible. It demonstrates the realization that we’re going to continue to have economic growth. But if we can have sustainable growth to ensure our quality of life is sustained, we will all be better off. “

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