Candidate's Spotlight: Libous, Fracking and the Economy
10/17/2012 (Updated 11:32:36 PM)Jason Weinstein: IF THE D.E.C DID DECIDE AGAINST PERMITTING FRACKING , WOULD YOU SUPPORT THAT DECISION? AND IF THE DECISION IS SOLELY IN THE HANDS OF THE D.E.C , DOES IT MATTER WHAT A STATE LEGISLATURE POSITION IS?
Senator Tom Libous: I do think environmentally safe drilling is something we can do. I've said it time time again, don't let the politicians make this decision because we're not scientists and we don't have all the facts. Having said that, a legislature does have a lot to say. Certainly a legislation can pass either house. Moratorium legislation has passed the Assembly, we have not passed it in the Senate because we believe the science should dictate. Again I think it could be great for the area economically. I think it could help us tremendously. I think the jobs just recently in Pennsylvania, the divide up two hundred million dollars in money that was given back to the community. That's over and above all the jobs, that's over and above all of the money land owners receive.
JW: BUT IF THE SCIENTIST AT THE D.E.C SAID NO? YOU WOULD ACCEPT THAT?
TL: Well you know we have to accept it because ultimately then the governor would make the decision based on what they tell him. If they decided not to move forward it would be very difficult even for members of the legislature to move the process forward.
JW: WELL THE AREA HAS SEEN HUNDREDS OF TEACHER JOB LOSES OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, THE STATE TEACHER'S UNION HAS PUT MUCH OF THE BLAME ON THE STATE'S TAX CAP. IS THERE ANY WAY TO GET MORE MONEY INTO EDUCATION OR SOME HOW IMPROVE OUR SCHOOLS?
TL: Last year alone the tax cap saved property tax payers in my Senate District $7 million for one year. Now having said that, it has made things a little tighter for schools. You know the state lived within the two percent. We're asking school districts and local governments to do the same. When the tax base declines, unfortunately taxpayers have to pay more. So we need jobs. We're going to continue to work to create jobs and increase the tax base. That goes back to the first question where I talked about environmentally safe drilling. We've got prototypes showing a particular school district over a five year period if there was drilling in the Southern Tier it can mean additional $9.5 million to a school district.
JW: YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE SOUTHERN TIER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL. HOW EFFECTIVE HAS THE GOVERNOR REGIONAL COUNCILOR BEEN INSPIRING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT? AND WHAT CAN YOU DO IN ALBANY TO IMPROVE EMPLOYMENT IN THE AREA?
TL: We're going through right now another round of projects. We're looking at those projects that are going to create jobs here in the Southern Tier and remember on the council the Southern Tier is bigger than just Broome County. It goes all across the Southern Tier of New York State. I think the councils are effective, I think the fact they're issuing dollars to create career and job opportunities by virtue of projects and that the local people have a say, I think the regional councils have been effective and will help job growth here in the Southern Tier.
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