A Future Focused Windfall

Earlier this week, the Times Union published my commentary, “Invest $5B to build on essentials,” which outlines my recommendations for how the state’s recent $5 billion in settlement funds should be used for infrastructure with an emphasis on jobs (including entry level workers), energy sustainability, and planning funds for after school programs.

I support the desire to invest these funds to repair our aging infrastructure, however, I want to ensure as many opportunities as possible are created for youth and entry level workers, either through a small designated set aside or through contractor requirements to provide internship and apprenticeship opportunities.

I would recommend these infrastructure funds include investments in energy sustainability, such as in wind and solar, which would further increase the number of entry levels jobs in building retrofitting and weatherization.

Finally, I recommend a small investment in after school funding to provide immediate planning and startup funds to expand quality after school programs so needed for working parents. These funds could help jump start after school programs while waiting for longer term funding from state revenues already designated for after school programs from the casino expansion.

What are your thoughts on how and where these funds should be directed toward?