New York state mayors told state legislators they needed more aid to fund their schools, economies, infrastructures, and other programs during a budget meeting at the Capitol, Jan. 26.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren asked the state for an additional $30.9 million in aid to cover a portion of the city’s aid to schools she said is not funded by the state.
In addition, Mayor Warren also asked state lawmakers to give the city funding on par with other upstate cities, which she said typically receive more funds to cover the amounts they must pay to their districts.
“Don’t give us any more. Just give us enough money to cover what we have to pay to our school districts as you give to other cities,” she reportedly stated.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner also testified before state legislators Tuesday, calling on lawmakers for an increase in spending to help the city’s failing infrastructure, as well as ethics and elections reform within state and local governments.
“The ability for state government to deliver solutions for the great challenges faced by our cities—poverty, aging infrastructure, inequality, among others—has been hampered by distractions from the behavior of a few bad apples,” Mayor Miner stated. “We must have leaders who step up, and make significant changes. We cannot afford for state government to work for itself, it must start working for the people of New York once again.”
Miner has made infrastructure a priority of her administration, and also told lawmakers, for every dollar of infrastructure spending the government undertakes, it will yield a return of over $2 to the local community, according to a study conducted by the Federal Reserve.
However, the longest testimony in front of state lawmakers came from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Mayor de Blasio testified in front of legislators for approximately five hours, in opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $800 million in budget cuts for the city.
“Help us ensure our fiscal stability, for the good of all,” he stated.
Some Senate Republicans said the cuts had been appropriate, given the fact the city has surpluses it can use, and also doesn’t have a cap on property taxes like other upstate cities.
“We have very poor counties upstate,” Senate Finance Committee Chair Cathy Young stated.
Young also pointed out that, while 71 percent of CUNY students are from New York City, “the entire bill for the CUNY system is picked up by the taxpayers of New York state.”
“Our ability to succeed affects every one else,” Mayor de Blasio responded.
De Blasio also told state legislators, if New York City does well, so will the rest of the state, since the city pays more in taxes than it gets in return from the state, overall.
Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers are scheduled to decide on a budget by April 1.