Governor puts your city and your mayor on notice over the budget

Posted at: 06/24/2013 5:53 PM
Updated at: 06/24/2013 7:25 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

Governor Andrew Cuomo had a warning for upstate cities like Rochester. He says the days of state bailouts for city budgets are over. Sitting in the audience listening to that was Rochester Mayor Tom Richards.

So what did the mayor have to say? Is Rochester getting its fair share?

The mayor said he takes a little offense to what the governor says about the way upstate cities handle their finances. The governor basically warned the mayor and the people at MCC that the days of the state bailing out cities to balance their budgets are over. He showed the numbers that show 33% of Buffalo's budget is state money. The percentage in Syracuse is in the 30's too. Rochester, however, is only at 18%, and that's why the mayor is a little sensitive about this.

Rochester Mayor Tom Richards said, “He doesn't believe that large increases in state aid are appropriate solutions to the problem. However, some sense of equity might be a solution to the problem. I don't see how it can be less state money for Rochester. You saw it up there. We're already getting the least amount of anybody.”

News10NBC's Berkeley Brean said, “I thought I heard you say something to effect that those bailout days are over. That number is going to go down. Is that true?”

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “I didn't say the number is going to go down. I'm saying we are now just plugging holes and we plug the hole every year and then we say the budget is balanced. The budget is not balanced. It's a game we've been playing.”

The governor keeps using the words restructuring the budget. The mayor talks about that too and agrees with it. It's a complicated issue but one of the ideas is moving the main source of city revenue from property taxes to something like sales tax.

There's also a new commission that will help cities renegotiate expensive contracts with its unions. It's called a restructuring board.

To read the press release from the governor, click here.