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April 13, 2000

Budget Conference Subcommittee Meetings
April 13, 2000

Transportation/Agriculture/Environment/Housing Subcommittee

Overview: This subcommittee issued its final report on Thursday, April 13.

Transportation: Both the Senate and the Assembly agreed on a $17.1 billion transportation plan that would be supported by a $3.8 billion bond act as well as other state, federal, and New York City aid. This spending would support: capital projects under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including construction of a 2nd Avenue subway; an investment of $10 million in various capital projects; an investment in new clean-air buses for New York City and clean-air technology to be retrofitted to current New York City buses; and studies of Interstate 86, seaway trails, and railway extension programs.

Agriculture: Both the Senate and the Assembly agreed on spending of $3.5 million in spending on nearly 20 items, most of them related to education. These spending proposals include support for: a laboratory at Cornell University; aid to Fulton-Montgomery Community College; support for a data base at Cornell University; aid to the Geneva Experimental station; equine testing; aid for children's health care for migrant workers' families; and aid to the Madison County Fair;

Housing: The final report included spending recommendations totaling $5.5 million.

Assembly: Spending proposals advanced by Assembly members of this subcommittee included: general operating aid to a coalition that services 170 different housing groups; aid to the Urban Home ownership Assistance Program, which serves communities with population of 65,000 or more; and $450,000 for drug programs linked to publicly funded housing.

Senate: Spending proposals supported by Senate members of this subcommittee included: $500,000 to be shared by 72 different rural preservation companies; $150,000 for a rural housing coalition; $350,000 to support home ownership in rural areas; $1 million for programs to support small residential buildings; $170,000 for support of mortgages at imminent risk of default in Nassau and Suffolk counties; and nearly $500,000 for rural community revitalization.

Both the Assembly and the Senate said they saw a need for additional funds for capital purposes to be allocated by the General Conference Committee.

Environment: The final report included spending recommendations totaling $16 million. Neither side recommended any spending related to brownfield remediation.

Assembly: Spending proposals supported by Assembly members included: $5 million for zoos and aquariums; $600,000 for conservation and hunting support, with the goal of staving off certain fee increases; $2.5 million for programs designed to prevent, reduce, and control asthma; $1 million for programs related to air monitoring; $175,000 for the preservation of urban trees and parklands, the containment of urban mass transit fares, and the preservation the state's collection of battlefield flags held in the state Capitol; .

Senate: Spending proposals supported by Senate members included funding for marine programs, including a Long Island pathology lab, waterfront projects in Long Island and Rensselaer County, and landfill closures.

Economic Development Subcommittee

Overview: The Economic Development Subcommittee finished its deliberations by recommending spending of $20 million. The subcommittee decided to confine itself to the $20 million it was allocated by the General Conference Committee, rather than make recommendations totaling higher amount.

Senate: The Senate recommended that its half of the $20 million allocated be spent on the following priorities: research and development in biomedicine and biotechnology; high technology and telecommunications; aid to college science centers; marketing, development, and support for business; and tourism promotion.

Assembly: The Assembly recommended that its half of the $20 million allocated by spent on the following priorities: manufacturing and industrial development assistance ($2.65 million); business attraction and entrepreneurship ($2.4 million); high-technology and other development initiatives ($1.8 million); tourism matching grants and other marketing programs ($1 million); and economic development support for distressed areas ($2.15 million).

General Government/Local Assistance Subcommittee

Overview: This subcommittee concluded its deliberations early in the afternoon Thursday, April 13, and was to issue its final report at its meeting at 5 p.m. the same day. Its total spending recommendations far exceed the $25 million that it was asked to consider by the General Conference Committee.

The Senate and Assembly members of this subcommittee agreed on the following spending recommendations:

Higher Education Subcommittee

In a 10-minute meeting Thursday, April 13, this subcommittee reported that it had not reached an agreement and that significant differences remained on key issues. The subcommittee said its recommendation to the General Conference Committee is to let staff continue discussions of these issues throughout the weekend if necessary leading up to another subcommittee meeting on Monday morning, with the next "public report" to be made Monday afternoon.