After a year of hard work, dedication, and mobilization of hundreds of PUSH members and tireless effort by the staff, Governor Paterson signed the Green Jobs/Green Homes bill in Syracuse today. It's a huge victory for PUSH (whose own Eric Walker helped draft the bill) and an even bigger victory for New York State which is now poised to become the national leader in green jobs training. Check out the Buffalo News Article! Please check out the official Working Families Party Press Release: ADVOCATES CHEER AS GOVERNOR SIGNS GREEN JOBS-GREEN NEW YORK ACT GROUNDBREAKING LEGISLATION CHAMPIONED BY WFP SET TO MAKE NEW YORK A NATIONAL LEADER IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY NEW YORK – The Working Families Party and a broad coalition of environmentalists, labor and business leaders, workforce development experts and community organizations cheered today as Governor Paterson signed the landmark Green Jobs-Green New York Act. The Act, championed by the Working Families Party, will create the most ambitious residential energy efficiency program in the country, providing efficiency upgrades to an estimated one million homes and businesses over the next five years while creating more than 14,000 new jobs. “New York is on the way to becoming a global green leader,” said Dan Cantor, Working Families Party Executive Director. “Using today’s technology, this program will save millions of homeowners on their utility bills, reduce New York’s carbon footprint, and create thousands of badly needed jobs.” The bill’s key innovation is a revolving capital fund, which would use private investment to cover the upfront costs of energy efficiency improvements for homeowners and businesses. The fund would be repaid through the resulting energy savings. The bill also provides $112 million in funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to administer the fund, leverage private capital to pay for the retrofits, and setup green job training programs across the state. The Center for Working Families first proposed the creation of a mass-scale home energy efficiency program in a report co-authored with the Center for American Progress. Emmaia Gelman, Policy Director for the Center for Working Families said: “New York might become the first state to unlock the full potential of home energy efficiency with a program brings green technology to people of all incomes.” The report can be downloaded here: The Working Families Party built an unprecedented statewide coalition of businesses, labor unions, community groups, and environmentalists to help lobby the Green Jobs bill. The coalition cheered the bill’s passage: Richard Kornbluth, President of the Board of Directors of the Building Performance Contractors’ Association of New York State, said: “This initiative creates an opportunity for New York’s Home Performance Contractors to take their businesses to an entirely new level. We see significant growth in job creation for our industry during the next five years as this program unfolds. This is good news for homeowners, for workers, for the economic health of New York State, and for the climate.” Eric Walker, organizing director of the Buffalo-based PUSH community organization said: “The need for the bill is obvious in a place like Buffalo. Community groups are the heart of connecting people to retrofits and jobs laid out in the program. For us, going green is not just a lifestyle, it's about survival.” Myles Lennon of the New York State Laborers Union said: "Green Jobs-Green New York lays the foundation for an inclusive green economy that creates long term career paths and family sustaining wages for green collar workers. Thanks to the state's leadership, we can continue to work with communities to ensure that green jobs are good jobs." Richard Schrader, New York Legislative Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council said: “Energy efficiency makes environmental and economic sense. New York’s biggest carbon footprint comes from energy use in its buildings – but this program will help change that. We are showing the world we can create jobs, lower energy bills, and cut global warming pollution all at the same time.”