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Tax credit proposed to help pay for costly removal of dead ash trees

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Chris Caya WBFO News
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The toll taken by the Emerald Ash Borer is expensive. Sen. Tim Kennedy says he has heard from many people who have paid $500 for removing one dead tree that has been infested by the invasive species.

To help, Kennedy (D-Buffalo) is proposing a 50% tax credit, which he says would be capped at $300 per tree removed.

"We're looking for a line item in the budget statewide for $20 million because this is across the entire state of New York and we believe that a strong $20 million allocation to help homeowners that have to deal with the removal of these trees, this unforeseen financial burden, will be a great head start," Kennedy said.

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Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
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The peeling bark on this ash tree is a sure sign that it is being "choked to death" by the Emerald Ash Borer

Re-Tree Western New York Chairman Paul Maurer says people should remove dead ash trees as soon as possible.

"This kind of tree turns very brittle when it dies. And with it turning brittle, the branches become very weak and they could fall on homes, individuals, cars, property," Maurer said.

The bill also encourages municipalities to plant a variety of new trees to help prevent future devastation caused by invasive species or disease.