On the brief side...
Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi recently addressed a distinguished panel of experts on renewable energy assembled to discuss “feed-in tariff” legislation and its potential to revolutionize production and delivery of electricity in New York state.
The Forest Hills lawmaker, chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Renewable Energy and a member of the parent Energy Committee, wrote and sponsored a feed-in tariff bill which would create an incentive program that would rapidly and exponentially increase the installation of renewable energy technology throughout the state.
Hevesi explained, “In addition to producing cheaper and more reliable power over the longterm, increasing the amount of renewable energy generated in this state will reduce environmental impacts and end our dependence on foreign oil.
“A feed-in tariff will encourage rapid installation of solar, wind, digestion, hydroelectric, biomass and hydrokinetic projects. New York has the obligation to become the national leader through its ability to incent[sic] the installation of green technologies.”
Feed-in tariff programs have been widely adopted in Europe, Hevesi said, and have proven successful in stimulating clean-power development, generating jobs and driving down the cost of energy. He explained the initiative works by providing renewable energy installers of varying sizes at a guaranteed rate of return. The power they produce will then flow back into the grid, gradually replacing power generated by fossil fuels.
The energy symposium, entitled, “Empire State Feed-in Tariff: A Policy to Make New York a Clean Energy Capital”, was held at Cooper Union.
Halloran Bashes 12 Percent Water Hike
Calling it “an added burden on already overtaxed Queens residents”, City Councilmember Dan Halloran lashed out at the New York City Water Board’s potential rate hike this spring.
Halloran (R–C, Auburndale) also criticized “another ill-advised proposal” that would impose a fixed monthly fee on top of the water tax.
“The fee will not be used for improvements to the system, but rather for general operating expenses, like salaries,” Halloran said. “This is nothing more than a flat tax, plain and simple, and is another example of a hidden tax that will hurt the middle class New Yorkers.”
Halloran said he favors requiring the Water Board to set rates only after the City Council adopts a budget. He noted the board will set its rates in May while next year’s budget will be passed in June. Thus, he said, the board’s proposed 12 percent increase may not be an accurate reflection of costs.
Maloney Bill Spurs Job Growth
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney has introduced a bill to provide tax credits for small businesses that create jobs by hiring new workers only.
The bill would provide tax credits equal to 20 percent of the cost of new hires for businesses with fewer than 100 employees and a 15 percent tax credit for businesses with more than 100 employees, Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) said.
The tax credits would be available for one year from the date the bill takes effect, she said.
“Too many New Yorkers are out of work,” Maloney stated. “This legislation, when signed, will create the jobs we need. A similar program in the 1970s was credited with creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and I believe this proposal will be even more successful.”
Maloney added, “One of the last areas to recover in a recession is job creation. We are digging our way out of this recession, but we need to work harder and faster for the millions of American families who have been hard hit in the economic downturn.”