Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that after a strong push and conversations with local officials, the Assemblys 2019-20 state budget proposal restores $59 million to Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM), a vital source of funding for towns and villages across the state, for a total of $715 million.
Local governments across Western New York struggle to balance budgets that hold the line on property taxes while providing important services to residents, Wallace said. Cutting AIM funding would put municipalities in the difficult position of either cutting those services or raising taxes. I fought to restore AIM funding in the Assemblys budget proposal, and Ill keep fighting to make sure it remains in the final state budget because our localities shouldnt be backed into a corner when it comes to funding.
Under the executive budget proposal, towns and villages that rely on AIM funding for less than 2 percent of their budgets would see it eliminated, while all cities that receive funding would maintain the same levels as last year. This would affect 24 of the 25 towns in Erie County and 13 of the 15 villages, with only the town of Alden and villages of Kenmore and Sloan exempted. The towns of Cheektowaga and Lancaster and the villages of Lancaster and Depew stand to lose more than $1.3 million combined if the proposed cuts are enacted.
Wallace led the efforts to restore AIM funding, hosting a roundtable last month with local officials to discuss the proposed cuts and sending a letter to the governor advocating against them. The funding was restored in the executive budget after 30-day amendments were made, but was tied to internet sales tax.
I thank Assemblymember Monica Wallace for leading the fight to restore AIM funding for Cheektowaga and surrounding municipalities in the Assembly budget proposal, said Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. Assemblymember Wallace and her colleagues have done the right thing by restoring this crucial funding that Cheektowaga relies on to provide the services our residents need. I urge the Senate and Governor to follow their lead and restore our AIM funding.
AIM is important to towns such as Amherst, said Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa. It is a tremendous amount of revenue in our budget and would represent a major tax increase if the AIM funding is not renewed. I would like to thank New York State Assembly Western New York local delegation and the strong leadership of Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. A special thanks to Assemblywoman Monica Wallace and Assemblywoman Karen McMahon who have risen to the occasion in including this in their One House Bill. They have been very receptive in talking to the Town of Amherst and all the Town Supervisors as a collective, and have been there with us every step of the way. We look forward to positive results.
Local governments rely on this funding for essential municipal programs like garbage pickup and snow removal efforts. Thats why the Assemblys 2019 budget proposal responsibly funds AIM the same way we have every year since 2005, concluded Wallace.