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Local assemblyman responds to Hub editorial, says he advocates for villages in state capitol

Posted 24 January 2018 at 5:41 pm

Editor:

I had the opportunity to read your recent editorial titled “GOP State Senate blueprint for NY should include equitable AIM funding for villages,” which criticized the Senate Majority’s plan for failing to address the disparity in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding awarded throughout the state. (Click here to see the editorial.)

While I agree that AIM funding should be more fairly distributed to towns and villages in relation to cities, I vehemently dispute the fact, as the editorial claims that, “These villages can’t even get on the radar of state politicians.”

As a state lawmaker, I have always been an outspoken proponent of reducing mandated spending on towns and villages, something that is routinely pushed by downstate lawmakers who are in full force in Albany.

New York’s Medicaid budget is nearly $70 billion, and those costs are handed down to local governments, which in turn, hand them down to local residents. New York is unique in the large burden of Medicaid costs it asks its counties to cover. In many other states, state government pays the bill – rightly so.

I sponsor multiple pieces of legislation (A.5628 & A.5186) to make Albany pay for what Albany legislates, instead of passing the buck to homeowners and local taxpayers. Despite our advocacy, these bills have either been blocked or left without action by New York City politicians.

Furthermore, I introduced legislation last year, supported by members on both sides of the aisle as well as in the Senate (A.8040), which would direct the bulk of any AIM awards over the $715 million currently awarded to villages.

Unfortunately, this legislation has sat idly in the Ways and Means Committee since it was introduced, a committee controlled by New York City politicians.

The biggest hurdle is that for several years, including this year, Gov. Cuomo has failed to include an increase in Village AIM funding in his Executive Budget proposal despite repeated pressure from the legislature and neither the Assembly nor the Senate has yet to release its “One House” budget proposal this year.

So I believe the criticism of “state politicians” being ineffective is an unfair assessment – perhaps the reality of “downstate politicians” stonewalling our efforts to fully fund our towns and villages should be exposed.

Sincerely,

Steve Hawley

Assemblyman for 139th District