A freshman New York State senator has introduced a number of bills aimed at growing local economies and creating jobs. The legislation package especially targets New York’s upstate region.
Democratic State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk of the 46th District rolled out a package of economic development bills she says would help small businesses and farms. She announced the bills in Greene County Wednesday, on Main Street in Catskill.
Tkaczyk, a sheep farmer who grew up on a farm, says the agricultural portion of her economic development package includes creating The Small Farm Modernization Revolving Loan Fund, which would provide low-interest loans of up to $25,000 to help small farms to modernize or purchase new equipment, or expand the amount of crops planted. Chris Pawelski says this could help him a lot. He’s a fourth-generation onion farmer who owns Pawelski Farms in the Black Dirt region of Orange County.
In addition, Tkaczyk is introducing The Small Farm Disaster Recovery Grant Program, to provide grants of up to $10,000 to small-farm owners to purchase and replant crops that have been destroyed by a natural disaster. Pawelski, a farming advocate who has been involved in farming policy for several years, says after Hurricane Irene in 2011, many crops were devastated along the Walkill River, amounting to some $60 million worth of destruction.
On the technology side, Tkaczyk’s Broadband Internet Access Act of 2013 would expand high-speed Internet service in rural, underserved areas by awarding tax credits to companies that install new broadband service.
She says business and families will be reluctant to move into rural areas if they do not have access to high-speed Internet service.
She says that in addition to introducing the aforementioned legislation, she is a co-sponsor of five Senate bills pertaining to economic development in the state’s rural regions.