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Construction group blasts Cuomo for 'invading' funds.

In a sharply worded letter to Governor Mario Cuomo, the region's largest construction trade association blasted a recent proposal by the Governor to use special tax revenues, which are earmarked for a recently-created transportation fund, to help plug an anticipated multi-billion dollar hole in the 1993-94 state budget.

Ross J. Pepe, president of the Construction industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley (CIC) called the proposal to use Petroleum Business Tax (PBT) revenues "an outright betrayal of the trust New York State taxpayers have placed in you and the state Legislature." Pepe warned that the construction industry will "vociferously oppose this outrageous diversion of dedicated funds (PBT) and will hold all elected officials accountable for their actions."

Pepe's remarks follow a proposal made by Governor Cuomo last week indicating that he wants to break into the "locked box" to help balance next year's budget. The "locked box" was expressly created last year with revenues from the PBT to fund state transportation capital programs.

Speaking at a news conference, Gov. Cuomo said that his plan was part of a transportation proposal that would spare New York City subway and bus riders from a fare increase through 1994. It was also reported that tolls on New York City's tunnels and bridges would rise an unspecified amount as well.

Anticipating the intent by lawmakers to raid the dedicated transportation funds to satisfy any budget shortfall, the construction industry has planned to launch a statewide medi campaign along with other leading industry labor and management organizations to protest this plan.

"These funds were approved to replace the expired Rebuild New York Bond funds and provide for expanded and necessary highway and bridge improvements and other transportation needs," Pepe explained. "We fully expect and demand these funds be used for this and no other purpose."

The CIC represents 500 construction and related firms and the more than 50,000 workers they employ in the Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley region.
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Title Annotation:Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley criticizes New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo's proposal to tap transportation fund in effort to increase revenues
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Dec 16, 1992
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