Yonkers Mayor Spano to New York State Legislature: Big Cities Need Your Help Now
YONKERS, NY – March 12, 2018 -- As the Legislature begins passing its own version of the State Budget this week, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said it is essential to reverse the slow strangulation of city governments caused by the reduction in revenue sharing.
Formerly officially called revenue sharing, the program was renamed in 2007 as Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM). It peaked at an annual payment of $135 million in 2009, but is now down to $108.2 million.
“If the State had simply increased AIM funding by two percent every year since 2007 and kept it there, Yonkers would be getting $19 million more this year than we are,” said Spano. “Not coincidentally, that is just a few million short of this year’s City budget deficit.”
“The amount that Yonkers taxpayers send to Albany in the form of income and sales taxes has grown enormously over the years, but the amount we get back under AIM has remained the same,” said Spano. “A two percent increase every year would have avoided the layoffs and service reductions that are now possible in the upcoming City Budget.”
With the Senate and Assembly planning to enact their “one house” budget bills this week, Spano said he is urging them to increase AIM payments, at least to the State’s large cities which face financial stress.
“It’s great that the State says its own spending increase is limited to two percent a year,” noted Spano, “But part of the reason they’ve done that is by not increasing payments to local governments. That’s a spending shift, not a spending limit.”
Since 2007, when the AIM program was renamed, the state budget has increased from $120.6 billion to $168 billion – a 40 percent increase. “If AIM funding had increased as fast as the overall state budget we’d be getting $142 million this year,” noted Spano, “That’s nearly $35 million more than we are.”
“It’s fair to say that the City’s budget gap would be nonexistent if only the State had increased AIM consistent with inflation over the years. This state budget is a good time to begin correcting that situation.”