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Thiele to fight state aid cuts to municipalities

COURTESY PHOTO Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor)

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) has let it be known that he will be fighting aspects of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state budget proposal that would “include massive cuts” to a program called Aid and Incentive to Municipalities Program (AIM).

Though he’s an Independent, he caucuses with Democrats, placing him in the position of fighting against the Democratic Mr. Cuomo.

The program was started in the 2005-06 fiscal year. Governor Cuomo’s budget for 2020 would cut those funds back from $715 million to $656 million. Most of the AIM funding will still go to 61 municipalities across the state, but Long Island would see the aid completely wiped out.

If the cuts were to hold as the governor outlined them, Shelter Island —  which receives $10,929 this year — would receive nothing in 2020. Dering Harbor would lose the $1,096 in 2020 that it gets this year.

“This reduction translates into hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars that localities have come to depend on,” Mr. Thiele said.

Many municipalities have already finalized annual budgets anticipating money would be forthcoming from the state, Mr. Thiele said. If the cuts stand, local taxpayers would be left to make up for the loss through their property taxes.

“As lawmakers, we should be examining by how much to rightfully increase funding to localities, which has long been overdue,” Mr. Thiele said. “A reduction of AIM funding is unacceptable,” he said.

Mr. Thiele is chairman of the Assembly Local Government Committee. He has pledged to work with his State Senate counterpart, James Gaughran, and his legislative colleagues to restore the cuts and work to increase the aid.

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