Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal for 2019-20 calls for $59 million in cuts to state aid for municipalities, but the good news is that the governor has indicated that he's open to reconsidering.
The proposed cuts to Aid and Incentives to Municipalities wouldn't apply to cities, but would affect towns and villages where the money accounts for less than 2 percent of annual budgets. So while Auburn's funding would remain unchanged, nearly every town and village in Cayuga County would lose money.
Cuomo had argued that because smaller municipalities "have a low reliance" on the funds, that the money wouldn't really wouldn't be missed. But Owasco Town Supervisor Ed Wagner said his town received $27,000 in AIM funds last year and that it would be a burden for the town to have to make up the difference in the future.
Having listened to complaints about the plan, Cuomo on Monday acknowledged that AIM cuts would "have a major impact" on local governments and said that his administration would be "taking a second look" at the original plan.
There may be an argument to make for weaning municipalities off this particular state aid program over the long term, but it should not be canceled all at once. Unlike the state, local budgets have already been settled, so it would be completely unfair to pull this money in the middle of the fiscal year for towns and villages.
We're glad to see that Cuomo has opened the door to canceling the cuts, and we hope he follows through and reverses course this year.
The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Rob Forcey, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.