President Donald Trump’s decision to support full funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in the federal budget drew praise from Rep. Tom Reed this week.
“Working with the White House and our allies in the appropriations process, I’m glad to see that the White House came out in support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and joining with our voice as we go through the budget process,” Reed, who represents the Greater Olean area in Congress, said during a media call with reporters Wednesday. “I think this puts us in a good spot in regards to negotiating the final number with our allies and colleagues.”
Under the budget the president proposed on March 11, funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would have been cut from $300 million to $30 million, but during a campaign rally in Michigan last week, Trump pledged to provide the full $300 million. The program is designed to protect and restore the Great Lakes.
“As we go forward in these conversations, I think highlighting the return on the investment that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative money represents for the district gives us the best chance to continue to advocate for that $300 million level of funding that we believe is appropriate and provides a return on taxpayer dollars,” Reed said. “This is a positive step that needed to be highlighted going forward.”
Reed had a mixed reaction to the state budget that was approved earlier this week. He applauded Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for his commitment to a permanent 2% property tax cap, but expressed concerns that increases in state spending would drive up taxes.
“If you look at the tax load that the governor, as well as the legislature in Albany, have put on all of New York with their increased spending of 4%, plus the taxes that go along with that overall, they are going to further saddle us,” Reed said. “As they help us on the property tax bill, it’s disappointing that they don’t recognize how bad they’re hurting New Yorkers and the future of New York in regards to the taxes that are coming out of Albany.”
Cuomo, in a statement issued Sunday after lawmakers reached agreement on the budget, said the plan was fiscally responsible.