PLATTSBURGH — North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is leading an effort to gain more funding to help revitalize the Northeast, a region hard hit by a loss of manufacturing.
Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) are calling on the leaders of the House and Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittees to include funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission in the Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.
The White House Office of Management and Budget recently proposed eliminating funding for the NBRC in its FY20 Budget Blueprint.
FOR RURAL JOBS
The letter, to House Subcommittee Chairwoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Ranking Member Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), and Senate Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), urges the inclusion of $25 million in the bill for the NBRC, with $4 million for forestry projects and $1 million for the State Capacity Grant Program specifically.
"NBRC aims to increase rural job opportunities and leverage federal funds to partner with private enterprises to revitalize areas around the Canadian border," commission members wrote.
"Furthermore, NBRC grants have been utilized to expand business enterprises in rural communities, support workforce development initiatives and revitalize infrastructure along the northern border."
The commission touted itself as a successful resource for innovative and entrepreneurial projects, and warned that the elimination of funding would have a negative impact on job creation in the Northeast.
"The NBRC is a smart and strategic use of taxpayer dollars and leverages significant private capital for projects in our states," their letter read.
"It is clear that we need to be encouraging economic and community development, and we commend the work of the subcommittee for previous support to this vital program."
Created by the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill with bipartisan support, the NBRC is a federal-state partnership that invests in the economic development of rural communities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.
North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the commission has benefited the area for years.
"We worked with then Congressman John McHugh when he achieved creation of the Northern Border Regional Commission, and it has proven a valuable, flexible tool for many small projects that don't fit other programs," he said.
"We are assisting with a couple of economic development projects currently that may look to the NBRC for needed support, and so we greatly appreciate Congresswoman Stefanik's strong commitment to continuing this special program targeting our region."
Email Joe LoTemplio:
WORKSHOPS COMING UP
Two workshops to help municipalities, economic development organizations and nonprofits obtain funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission will be held next week.
The sessions will provide tools and additional information to make the grant application process as stress-free as possible, according to a news release from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik.
Stefanik is partnering with the commission to conduct the workshops.
The most recent Farm Bill allowed the commission to expand its territory, and now all counties in New York’s 21st Congressional District are eligible to apply for funding.
"One of the many ways that my offices serve and support the constituents of the North Country is by assisting in the grant process," Stefanik said.
"I’m pleased to partner with the Northern Border Regional Commission to help make our applicants as competitive as possible and to un-complicate the process."
The workshops are set for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at the Park Theater, 14 Park St., Glens Falls; and 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at the North Country Chamber of Commerce, 7061 Route 9, Plattsburgh.