Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) is not a happy man today after perusing the February 14 draft of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
But the legislator has vowed to continue his efforts to try to restore Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) that would affect all 13 towns and 88 of 94 villages on Long Island.
“As chair of the Assembly Local Governments Committee, I will continue to work with my Assembly colleagues to fight for the full restoration of AIM funding,” Mr. Thiele said in a press release issued today.
The legislator had taken exception to plans to cut the funds when Mr. Cuomo released a draft in January. The governor’s proposal, if not overturned by the State Legislature, would cut what was $715 million in the current fiscal year’s budget to $656 million.
In issuing his February 14 Executive Budget proposal, Mr. Cuomo said any loss of AIM funding incurred by towns and villages would be offset by sales tax revenues collected by the counties, Mr. Thiele said.
“This is not a true restoration” of AIM funding, Mr. Thiele said, but simply shifts the burden to the counties. The governor’s action “misses the mark,” Mr. Thiele said.
If the cuts were to hold as the governor has 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.
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.
“A reduction of AIM funding is unacceptable,” Mr. Thiele said.