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State Budget Local Government

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, talks as Robert Mujica, budget director of the State of New York, listens as Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks about his upcoming meeting with President Donald Trump during a news conference in the Red Room at the state Capitol Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. New York pays more in taxes to the federal government than any other state. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reexamining his state budget proposal that calls for eliminating aid to several towns and villages across New York.

During a press conference at the state Capitol Monday, Cuomo defended the proposed cuts while adding that his administration will be "taking a second look" at changes to the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities payments in the budget. 

In his 2019-20 executive budget, Cuomo proposed slashing total AIM payments from $715 million to $656 million. The cuts would affect a municipality if state aid accounts for less than 2 percent of its total budget. 

Under Cuomo's budget plan, AIM payments would be eliminated for most towns and villages. 

Cuomo said the proposal would affect local governments that receive "a very small amount of AIM money." But he's heard from local officials who are concerned that the cuts would have a major impact on their budgets. 

"In these tough times, it is a big effort for them," Cuomo said. 

Nearly every town in Cayuga County would lose AIM funding under the governor's plan. In Onondaga County, eight towns that receive more than $100,000 wouldn't receive that aid. 

Cities would be exempt from the cuts. Auburn would receive $4,982,093. Syracuse would get more than $71.7 million. 

Interest groups representing local governments, including the New York Conference of Mayors, have spoken out against the proposed cuts. Local government leaders in Cayuga County oppose the governor's plan. 

Owasco Supervisor Ed Wagner told The Citizen in January that if the town lost AIM funding it would create budget difficulties. Last year, Owasco received $27,099 in base state aid. The town's 2019 budget is more than $1.9 million. 

With a loss in state aid, the town would need to find a way to make up revenue. That would be challenging, Wagner explained, because sales tax receipts are declining. 

"This puts more burden on the taxpayers to make up the difference," he said. 

State lawmakers have urged Cuomo to restore the AIM funding in his budget proposal. Last week, state Sens. Bob Antonacci and Rachel May, called on the governor to abandon the plan to slash AIM payments. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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