(Albany, NY) – State Senator Chris Jacobs is criticizing a provision in Governor Cuomo’s budget that will allow the state to capture and keep critical aid that had been going to communities like the Town of Hamburg that host gaming facilities. The Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) Aid to Municipalities was slated to provide more than $865,000 to Hamburg and $288,000 to Erie County this budget year.
“The Governor boasted in his budget address he wasn’t raising taxes, but what he didn’t mention is money grabs like this that will fill state coffers while forcing local communities to raise local property taxes to make up for these deficits,” Jacobs said.
Statewide Jacobs says this VLT “money grab” is happening to six communities, depriving them of over $9 million dollars in annual revenue that they depend on to balance budgets and provide critical services to residents.
“The Governor has a huge budget deficit due largely to bad decisions he has made with New York’s Medicaid program,” said Jacobs. “Instead of fixing the mess he created, he’s now trying to balance the state budget on the backs of local communities.”
Senator Jacobs pointed out that last year the Governor severely hurt towns and villages, particularly those in upstate and Western New York, by depriving them of critical resources through elimination of the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities program, more commonly known as AIM funding. He called this year’s proposal for the state to keep the VLT funding another unnecessary attack on local governments.
“This budget proposal is another shameful money grab that will hurt local governments and place an even greater burden on local taxpayers,” said Jacobs. “Today I am asking the majority in both houses of the legislature to reject this proposal. Local and state leaders need to stand together and send a strong message to the Governor to tell him to stop the attacks on local communities.”
The New York State budget must be passed by March 31st.