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Taste-NY program dropped from state budget

Funding for a program to promote locally grown produce through a network of duty-free stores across New York has been axed from the final version of the state's budget.

The general manager of the New York Wine and Culinary Center, Thomas Belelieu, says dropping the Taste-NY program means less education about upstate produce for tourists, and that will impact on the industry.

He says he was disappointed at the $2 million allocated to the project in the budget proposal, but it would have been better than nothing.

"It's quite sad that even the two million wasn't passed, because it would have been a great help to actually make the public aware and educate the public about New York state agricultural products. So to me it's disappointing, and I think it's a step back," Belelieu said.

Despite the loss of the Taste-NY program, the final state budget still includes some funding that will go towards increasing tourism in upstate New York.

Belelieu says the region is expecting 45 million agri-tourists once the weather improves, a marked increase over past years.

For more from the Innovation Trail, visit their website www.innovationtrail.org.

The Innovation Trail is a collaboration between six upstate New York public media outlets. The initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), helps the public gain a better understanding of the connection between technological breakthroughs and the revitalization of the upstate New York economy.

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail