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Gun Control

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo meets with gun safety advocates in the Red Room during a news conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Two of central New York's state senators are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore local government aid in his state budget plan. 

State Sens. Bob Antonacci and Rachel May oppose cuts to the Aid to Municipalities program, which provides base aid to cities, towns and villages across New York. 

In his 2019-20 executive budget plan, Cuomo proposed slashing the program's total funding from $715 million to $656 million. While cities wouldn't lose aid, many towns and villages across the state wouldn't be eligible for AIM funding. 

Under Cuomo's budget proposal, a town or village would lose AIM funding if it accounts for less than 2 percent of its total expenditures in the 2017 fiscal year. 

In May's district, towns and villages in Onondaga, Madison and Oneida counties would lose more than $1.1 million. 

May, D-Syracuse, explained that some municipalities in her district would lose a considerable amount of money. The town of Salina in Onondaga County, which received more than $290,000 in AIM funding last year, would no longer receive that assistance. Sullivan, a town in Madison County, would lose more than $92,000. 

"Our residents in central New York already bear a heavy tax burden and should not be expected to shoulder more," May said. "Even where AIM funding has represented a small percentage of total budgets, it often accounts for a much larger portion of the tax levy, so these cuts will result in significantly higher taxes or loss of services, or both. Our communities deserve better." 

Local governments in Antonacci's district, which includes parts of Cayuga and Onondaga counties, would lose more than $2 million in aid. 

Nearly every Cayuga County town and village would lose its AIM funding. The exceptions: Auburn, which would get more than $4.9 million; the town of Mentz would get $17,289; and the village of Meridian would receive $4,656.

Antonacci described the proposed cuts as "devastating" because local governments are dealing with the burden of unfunded state mandates. 

"These towns and villages have already adopted their budgets and are counting on that funding to continue to provide proper services to their residents," Antonacci said. "These cuts must be completely restored in this year's final enacted budget." 

The state budget is due by the end of March. 

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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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