Redlich says NYSERDA would be first to go

Agency official says gubernatorial candidate doesn't understand its role

When trying to balance the state budget, lawmakers look where to cut funding. Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Warren Redlich said he would start by dissolving the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

My campaign platform is you got to cut spending, said Redlich. "In my personal opinion, I think parks and teachers are more important than NYSERDA. When you add it all up, it is not worth what you are getting from them."

Redlich said he did some research into the payroll of a number of state agencies and posted the results in a blog on his campaign website . He said NYSERDA stood out to him because its 2009 payroll was well over $19 million for its 284 employees. The average employee for 2009 was paid $67,700, while the average employee annual rate for the year was just over $76,000. The annual rate can be higher " for example, an employee might have joined at some point after the fiscal year started.

The public benefit corporation, NYSERDA, was established in 1975, and early efforts focused only on reducing the state's petroleum consumption. NYSERDA now focuses on helping the state reduce energy consumption, promoting renewable energy usage and protecting the environment. The agency is also involved in realizing Gov. David Paterson's "45 by 15" initiative, which aims to have the state meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through clean and renewable resources and improved energy efficiency by 2015.

"We work to essentially facilitate the use of widespread technology to improve the state's energy, economy and environment," said Gordon. "We ensure that public money is spent to receive the maximum benefit for the ratepayers."

The agency is currently funded through the System Benefits Charge placed upon state ratepayers. NYSERDA Spokesman Jeffrey Gordon said the SBC for residents is about $30 annually, with business ratepayers also contributing.

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