|NY Gov Pataki Reopens Budget Talks For Biofuels Program|
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)--New York Gov. George Pataki said he would reopen limited budget talks with lawmakers to resurrect his idea of establishing alternative fuel pumps statewide for biofuels that could cost 50 cents per gallon less than gasoline.
At another event, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he would be open to reopening budget talks. He wants to discuss the Legislature's proposals for rebate checks to taxpayers of about $400, welfare funds for summer jobs for youths and other issues vetoed by Pataki as unconstitutional.
"We're not walking away, there are things we definitely want to discuss," said Silver spokesman Charles Carrier.
"I would hope there would be opportunity to negotiate a package that would make new opportunities available to energy consumers," said Assembly Energy Committee Chairman Paul Tonko, a Montgomery County Democrat. He said he has sponsored several bills, some dating to the 1990s, that would be similar to the Republican governor's proposals to add alternative fuel pumps to the Thruway and encourage biofuel manufacturing.
The 2006-07 state budget totals about $112.1 billion, up from $106 billion last year, according to Pataki's budget office. Pataki had declared about $1.5 billion of additional spending unconstitutional.
On Monday, Pataki said he doesn't want to add to what he said is already too much spending. But he would restore his $1.8 million proposal to help gas stations to add alternative fuel pumps. He also wants to encourage the purchase of hybrid automobiles with a $200 tax break, cut state taxes on alternative fuels to bring the price to 50 cents per gallon less than gas and provide incentives for alternative fuel manufacturing using corn, natural gas, wood fibers and other products.
He said the state Thruway will start installing alternative fuel pumps at rest stops this summer.
Pataki pitched some of the ideas in his State of the State speech in January, but the Legislature cut it from his budget.
.. people took a look and pulled up and saw that one (pump) was 50 cents a gallon less than the other, they would be demanding the opportunity to have access to that and to have vehicles that can use that," Pataki said. "So with a very small investment we could have a tremendously powerful impact on changing the energy dynamic in New York state."
He said encouraging consumers will spur the industry to provide better and more effective alternatives to oil-based fuels.
"There are all sorts of opportunities like that if we have incentive programs," Pataki said. "I think this is one where the people are way ahead of the politicians."
Pataki, who is considering a run for president in 2008, also said the federal government could provide powerful incentives to encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles and lower the cost of the fuel.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 02, 2006 18:10 ET (22:10 GMT)