Hawley Denounces Budget Measure That Limits Western NY Voice on Off-Track Betting Measures

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) slammed the Majority’s budget proposal that included a limit on the voting power of rural and suburban communities in Western New York. Since its inception, the 15 Counties, and the Cities of Buffalo and Rochester, have had equal votes on the Board of Directors of the Western Regional Off-the-Track Corporation. The budget bill, which passed the Assembly today, diminishes that equal footing by removing all 17 existing board members and packing the board with a total of only 37 rural and suburban voting bodies compared to the total 62 now benefitting the urban centers of Western New York. Hawley is frustrated that rural and suburban New York has once again had their power diminished.

“It’s interesting how we in Western New York lament the influence of New York City on the rest of the state yet are called ‘conspiratorial’ for comparing the situation to ‘Big Brother,’” Hawley said. “Yet today, that Big Brother philosophy made its way into our state budget, and the impact on will be immediately felt as the cities in Western New York now overwhelmingly overpower the rural and suburban communities. Buffalo & Erie County will now have a total of 34 votes, & Rochester & Monroe would have 28 votes. It upends what was once a fair balance of power in New York once again, and is yet another cut against the integrity of Western New York.”