Cuomo Restores Municipal Aid, Critics Still Unhappy

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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – Leaders of New York local government groups are pushing back against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to restore municipal aid.

Mayors and Town Supervisors have long complained about funding levels for Aid and Incentives to Municipalities, or AIM. It’s money the state gives towns and villages for projects like road paving.  In Cuomo’s initial proposed budget, that aid would have been cut by $60 million and would impact about 90 percent of towns and villages in New York.

Binghamton Mayor Rich David. Bret Jaspers/WSKG

Last week, Cuomo changed his tune. By eliminating an internet sales tax loophole, the governor claims the state can restore its aid to local governments.  That loophole allows companies like Amazon to dodge sales tax charges.

“The original proposal only impacted localities receiving a relatively small amount of money,” said Cuomo in a prepared statement. “But I have been contacted by mayors and local officials who say in these tough times, it would still be a challenge for them.”

Some officials are not satisfied, though. Instead of state funds, aid to local governments would come from their counties, which allocate sales tax to towns and villages. They say it won’t work.

“Here’s the primary reason that won’t work from a statewide level,” said Binghamton Mayor Rich David, a vice president for the New York Conference of Mayors, speaking before Cuomo’s announcement. “Not every city, town or villages gets sales tax from their respective counties.”

“Many of them do, but not all of them.” He added.

David used the village of Freeport, in Nassau County, as an example. He said it doesn’t have a sales tax agreement with Nassau, so this revenue wouldn’t trickle down to them.

After the governor’s announcement, Gary Geist, who’s executive director of the New York Association of Towns, chided Cuomo over his plan.

“Rather than supporting this attempt to pit local governments against each other to the detriment of New Yorkers the Association of Towns continues to call for a full restoration and increase in AIM funding by the state,” he said in a statement.

The New York budget deadline is March 31.