Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady/Saratoga) recently introduced legislation that would restore Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid to Saratoga County. Tedisco explains that $4.4 million was unexpectedly eliminated in the 2009-10 state budget due to a change in the guidelines used to determine local government aid to municipalities with VLT facilities.
“While we all can understand that tough economic times call for tough decisions, it does not give anyone the excuse to make bad decisions. The decision to make Saratoga the only community, the only county in New York State to lose its entire VLT aid is preposterous,” said Tedisco.
A new formula crafted by the New York City trio of Governor David Paterson, then Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver caused Saratoga County to lose 100 percent of its VLT aid, or $4.4 million, of which $3.3 million was targeted to the City of Saratoga Springs. In contrast, Genesee, Ontario, and Tioga counties lost 50 percent of their VLT aid under the new formula, while Erie, Sullivan and Oneida counties, as well as the City of Yonkers, did not lose any VLT aid.
“Because this year’s budget was an unmitigated disaster, the people of Saratoga Springs will now have to suffer with potential tax increases and cuts to essential services. It is unfair for Saratoga to have to come up with millions of dollars to make up for this unanticipated drop in revenue. Adding insult to injury, Saratoga must spend money to provide police, fire and emergency medical services to the racino. The City and County must spend money to maintain the roads surrounding the facility. That’s why we need legislation to amend the budget and authorize the return of this money,” said Tedisco.
Tedisco introduced legislation in the state Assembly (A.8824) to restore VLT funds to Saratoga and equity to the process by which these funds are released. The Assemblyman pledged to work with his colleagues from both sides of the political aisle in an effort to protect local taxpayers from feeling the complete burden of this loss in revenue.