Broome County Leaders Sound Off Against Cuomo’s Proposed Cut In State Funding

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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Government leaders from around Broome County stood with state representatives today in Binghamton. They’re pushing back against the Governor’s proposal that ends state aid to municipalities.

Gabe Altieri/WSKG

Projections on how each town and village in Broome County will be affected by proposed cut. Gabe Altieri/WSKG

Mayors and town supervisors called the proposed cut “an assault.”

In Cuomo’s state budget address this week, he proposed cutting AIM or “Aid and Incentives to Municipalities.” Projections have Broome County towns and villages losing $1.4 million in the 2020 budget.

The Town of Union is among the hardest hit. It faces a cut of $305,209.

“If we lose that aid, it also puts us above the tax cap so our residents will get dinged a second time because we’re going to be above the tax cap,” said Union Town Supervisor Rick Materese. “The representatives in the Town of Union have done a great job over the years keeping our tax levy under control and this is just an insult to it.”

Governor Cuomo’s office told the Gannett papers the funding cut will be offset by closing a sales tax loophole.  It allows online corporations, like Amazon, to avoid sales tax. Town of Windsor Supervisor Carolyn Price calls that a false narrative.

Gabe Altieri/WSKG

Union Town Supervisor Rick Materese. Gabe Altieri/WSKG

“The truth is the state tells us, when they give us state aid, where we put that and we have to put it in the general fund. The state also tells us we can not put sales tax revenue in our general fund,” Price explained.

“Hello? We can’t do that,” she added.

If AIM is cut from the final budget, the mayors and supervisors warn they might to increase taxes, staff layoffs and service cuts.

In the Town of Chenango, the projected cut is $89,033.

“$89,000 pays two to three salaries in Chenango, that means three families in the town of Chenango are without their livelihood,” said Town Supervisor Jo Anne Klenovic “We don’t run on big numbers, these people don’t make a lot of money and it’s putting us at a disadvantage to get the work done,” she added.

State Senator Fred Akshar and Assemblyman Cliff Crouch were on hand and both want to maintain funding.

“This is Albany going to every town and village hall, placing a bomb inside that town or village hall, closing the door and saying ‘good luck’,” Akshar said. “That’s really unfortunate and it’s unacceptable.”

The only Broome County municipalities not affected by the proposed cut are the City of Binghamton, the Town of Fenton, the Town of Maine and the Village of Lisle.