State budget deal reached, including $80M for ORDA

SARANAC LAKE — The New York state Legislature reached a deal Sunday, with law makers working into the night to approve revenue bills.

Among those — an $80 million funding package for Olympic Regional Development Authority and Olympic venue spending.

“We’re certainly looking for North Country priorities,” said Molly Ryan, chief-of-staff for Assemblyman Billy Jones.

She said that they were continuing to receive bills into Sunday evening, and weren’t able to comment on specifics as they worked through available information.

“Senator Little has several concerns, including the quick action being taken on budget bills this afternoon and evening without a chance for the public to review them,” wrote Dan MacEntee, spokesperson for state Senator Betty Little.

He said a second concern of Little’s is that this year’s budget will add to the burden of unfunded mandates for local governments, especially the lack of sufficient funding for election law changes approved earlier this year. The new budget also cuts AIM funding for local governments and funding for road repairs.

We haven’t seen the revenue bill yet but there are indications this year’s budget will raise taxes,” MacEntee wrote. “Given the trend of out migration of residents and businesses due to high taxes, Sen. Little feels the additional taxes will add to the burden and lead to more people leaving.”

“She is also pleased the property tax cap will be made permanent but again is concerned that the budget includes unfunded mandates,” MacEntee wrote. “The tax cap needs to be matched by mandate relief.”

This fiscal year’s budget also includes language allowing up to three, as of yet unnamed, prisons to be closed.

“Sen. Little’s concern is that closing prisons will increase double bunking, which raises safety concerns for inmates and corrections officers,” MacEntee wrote. “And obviously, as we have seen in the North Country, prison closures mean lost jobs in communities already struggling with no hope of reuse of the facilities that will lead to meaningful job replacement.”


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