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Assemblyman Thiele, Senator Gaughran Rally to Restore Aid and Incentives for Municipalities ‘AIM’ Funding

LongIsland.com

Proposed Executive Budget Cuts $19million+ from Long Island local governments.

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(L to R): Various town supervisors and village mayors, Senator Gaughran at podium.

Photo by: Office of Assemblyman Fred Thiele

Huntington, NY - January 25, 2019 - Today, Senator Jim Gaughran and Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Chairs of the Committee on Local Government in the Senate and Assembly respectively, were joined by dozens of bipartisan local elected officials as they rallied for full restoration of AIM funding in the State budget. The proposed Executive budget cuts $19 million+ from Long Island town and village government budgets, a change Gaughran and Thiele decried.
 
The electeds, led by State Legislators Gaughran and Thiele, requested full restoration and an appropriate increase to equate what the Long Island region sends to Albany each year. Town supervisors and village mayors spoke of potential cuts to programs and services -- including to senior services, public safety services, mental health initiatives, youth programs, and public infrastructure -- their municipalities are forced to consider in light of the Executive budget proposal.
 
The rally was held at Huntington Town Hall, a township slated to lose more than $1 million under the proposed Executive budget. 
 
Senator Jim Gaughran said “Local governments here on Long Island and across New York State cannot afford to lose the crucial state aid they need to provide residents with essential services including public safety, water quality, or paved roads. We cannot afford these devastating cuts and as Chair of the Committee on Local Government, I look forward to a productive conversation with the Executive branch on full restoration and an increase in AIM funding, a top priority for me this budget season.”
 
Assemblyman Fred Thiele said, "The Executive Budget proposal would virtually repeal AIM funding for most of our towns and villages. The statewide impact would be $54 million. About 90% of all towns and villages in the state would be cut. On Long Island alone, it would be $19 million cut. Make no mistake, the loss of these state funds means the loss of essential government services or property tax increases. This is unacceptable. AIM funding has been flat for many years. Not only should these funds not be cut, they should be increased. As the Chairs of the Local Government Committee in the Assembly and Senate, that is exactly what Senator Gaughran and I will attempt to do in Albany with our respective one-house budget bills." 
 
Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said "Considering the significant financial support the State receives from the Town of Huntington and the Long Island region in general, it is disappointing to learn of the unprecedented $59 million in cuts Governor Cuomo has proposed in his 2020 New York State Budget, effectively gutting the unrestricted state revenue sharing program known as Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM), significantly affecting the Long Island region," said Huntington Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. "The Town of Huntington will lose $1,067,256 due to Governor Cuomo’s proposed cuts. I urge our State Legislature to reject the Governor’s dangerous proposal, which could translate into service and program cuts and layoffs. The Town of Huntington should not be punished because our conservative fiscal practices have resulted in a State funding stream that represents less than 2% of our budget; when you take over $1 million away from us, the money has to come from somewhere."
 
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino stated, “We can all agree with the Governor when it comes to making the State’s property tax cap permanent.  This is an issue that I supported in Albany and continue to support for the taxpayers of Oyster Bay.  As we protect our taxpayers, it makes no sense to cut funding to local towns.  Keeping the town’s budget balanced while not raising taxes has been the cornerstone of our administration.  I am pleased to work with Senator Gaughran and Assemblyman Thiele to restore the funding that our Town and its residents deserve.”
 
Babylon Town Supervisor and Chairman of the Suffolk County Supervisors’ Association Rich Schaffer said “The Executive budget proposal didn’t allow towns to adequately prepare. If they eliminate this program, they need to give us a year to plan first. Babylon Town budgeted $1.1 million in state aid. If the governor’s plan is adopted, we’d have to go into the budget and move things midyear. Our association will ask the governor to reconsider.”
 
Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said “To learn about this after we’ve already adopted the budget for 2019 presents a tremendous problem for municipalities. If the AIM (Aid to Municipalities) funding is cut, Town Board members and I would have to take the necessary steps to replace the lost revenue stream in the Town’s 2019 budget.  Like all other townships affected, this could possibly necessitate cutting back full-time/part-time staff, and delaying projects that would negatively impact our residents.”
 
Huntington Town Councilmember Mark Cuthbertson said “We are very concerned about the decision to cut this aid to the Town of Huntington.  It will blow a hole in our budget and may leave us with the choice of cutting services or increasing taxes. I have submitted a sense resolution that will be on our Town board agenda on January 29 urging the New York State Legislature and Governor to fully restore funding to the Town of Huntington under the AIM Program.”
 
Huntington Town Councilmember said “Long Island already sends more money to Albany than it gets back, and this proposed elimination of per-capita state aid will only add to the imbalance, taking away more than $1 million that Huntington relies on to pay for services our residents want and deserve. I am proud to join support my colleagues Sen. James Gaughran and Assemb. Fred Thiele in their push for a full restoration of this item in the state budget. Simply put, Long Island in general and Huntington in particular deserve our fair share.”
 
Huntington Town Councilman Ed Smyth said, “Huntington adopted its budget in November as State law requires. The Town Board anticipated $1-million in AIM funding, about where our allocation’s been frozen for years. In light of the tax cap, the State ought to consider increasing aid to municipalities, but cutting us to zero mid-way through our operating year is patently irresponsible. I am glad that Senator Gaughran and Assemblyman Thiele are willing to listen. I hope they can find a fairer approach.” 
 
Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory said  “This decrease in funding may sound small, but minor cuts can pack a major punch when it comes to a municipality’s budget, especially on Long Island. This small piece of the state budget means a great deal to the towns and villages that have come to rely on that funding in order to offer the same services and keep taxes down at the same time, and accounting for such changes takes time and planning. Our state officials must carefully consider what they are asking of our municipalities.”
 
Suffolk County Legislator William R. Spencer, M.D. said “At a time when towns and villages throughout Suffolk County and the region are working hard to function within the property tax cap; the proposed cuts to  Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) are disappointing and will have negative financial implications that could mean loss of services and impact quality of life for taxpayers. I am thankful to Senator Gaughran and Assemblyman Thiele for their leadership on this issue and fully support their effort to restore this critical funding source.”
 
Suffolk Legislator Donnelly: “I applaud and thank Senator Gaughran and Assemblyman Thiele for taking the lead to help restore much needed aid to the hard-working residents of Suffolk County.”
 
President of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association, Nissequogue Mayor Richard B. Smith: “The Governor’s Proposal hurts the village citizens the most in villages that have the largest budgetary needs.  The Governor continues to add to village responsibilities and costs, but simultaneously wants to force villages to increase their local property taxes to pay for the same village services as were provided last year.”
 
Village of Sea Cliff Mayor Edward L. Lieberman “Once again the Governor has shown the taxpayers of New York’s municipalities and villages his lack of concern for their well-being. The influx of AIM monies has been utilized by my village to help off set higher taxes and to ensure better services to our residents. I applaud  State Senator Gaughran and Assemblyman Thiele’s action regarding this matter and ask the  Governor to reconsider his position.”
 
Village of Bayville Mayor Robert De Natale said “On behalf of the Bayville Village Board and all of the residents of our beautiful community, I wish to thank Senator Gaughran for fighting for the restoration of AIM Funding. Senator Gaughran recognizes that the elimination of AIM funding will create a substantial burden on our Village to make up the shortfall in our annual budget at the expense of some of the highest taxed residents in the entire Country.”
 
Village of Old Brookville Mayor Bernie Ryba said “I fully support the restoration of Aid and Incentives for all municipalities in the State budget.”