Aid plans put $5M for Albany in play
Senate and Assembly to vote on resolutions that could add or cut millions
Published on 3/10/2013 by the Times Union written by Jimmy Vielkind
Published 11:05 pm, Sunday, March 10, 2013
ALBANY — Senators are proposing to yank more than $5 million for the city of Albany from a one-house budget resolution they're set to unveil Monday.
City officials draft their annual budget by counting a $7.8 million "spin-up" of state payments in lieu of taxes on Empire State Plaza. That money must be approved in the upcoming state budget, to be adopted by March 31. The Senate's counterproposal is the latest stumbling block.
On Monday, both the Assembly and Senate will pass one-house budget resolutions to stake out negotiating positions with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who proposed a $136.5 billion budget in January.
After passing over Albany in his initial plan, Cuomo included the $7.8 million when he amended his proposal last month.
Democrats who dominate the Assembly matched that funding, which came after lobbying by Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and other officials, in their resolution. The state Senate, controlled by a coalition of Republicans and the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, offered $2.5 million.
"This was one of only two spin-ups in the entire Executive Budget proposal," said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif. "We favor a more comprehensive approach that gives local governments the tools to reduce their own costs and better protect taxpayers. Our budget reflects that."
Reif explained that Albany's request was brought in line with the spin-up sought by the Cattaraugus County city of Salamanca.
Members of Albany's Common Council were notified of the missing funding in a Sunday morning e-mail.
Councilman Dominick Calsolaro said he did not vote for the city budget because he was concerned the spin-up wasn't set in stone, but hoped the money would be restored.
"Hopefully they'll come to an agreement," he said. "Losing it would create quite a hole."