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Governor vetoes Senate S.5670A/Assembly A7844
Chairman John M. Becker

Chairman John M. Becker

No comment on whether Madison County will go back to the drawing board

by Martha E. Conway

(Wampsville – Sept. 30, 2016) Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John M. Becker reported this evening that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed two bills introduced by Sen. David J. Valesky (D – Oneida) and Assemblyman Bill Magee (D – Nelson).

The bills were developed at the urging of Madison County officials in hopes of sharing in additional revenues as the Oneida Indian Nation expands its gaming initiatives.

“This is political payback for not endorsing [Cuomo].”

According to Becker Sept. 22 at a joint press conference with Magee and Valesky, Cuomo had 10 days to act on the measure; that time expired today.

At the press conference Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Madison County Office Building, the trio urged residents to contact the governor’s office and voice their support of the bills, which would amend the state finance law regarding revenue sharing from gaming devices in Madison County.

“[The bill] would give equal treatment to Madison County by providing it with the same revenue-sharing payments received by other counties for in-county gaming without modifying the settlement agreement signed between the state, Oneida Indian Nation and Madison and Oneida counties in 2013,” read the press release distributed Sept. 22.

Valesky said Madison County reached out in May with this resolution.

“A lot has changed since then,” he said. “When the gaming compact was signed [in 2013], there was no gaming on the horizon. Now there is.”

He said the bill’s authors and supporters are suggesting through this legislation that Madison County should receive 25 percent of the state’s collections on the additional facilities.

“It received overwhelming support in the Legislature,” Valesky said. “Many counties approach the legislature for ‘home rule’ bills; this piece of legislation is no different from any other home rule, and we’re asking the governor to bring it to a successful resolution. Write, call the governor’s office and urge him to sign it.”

Becker said that day he was confident the “…governor would do the right thing and sign this legislation to ensure residents of Madison County are treated the same as every other community in New York state when it comes to the sharing of gaming revenue.

“Although Madison County has incurred, and will continue to incur, the same costs and burdens that other host counties face, it currently receives none of the revenue-sharing payments enjoyed by all other host counties to help mitigate these impacts,” said Magee. “This legislation would ensure that Madison County is treated like all other host counties.”

Valesky echoed Magee’s statements.

“Madison County is the only county in this state that does not receive part of the state’s share of Native American gaming revenue within its borders,” Valesky said. “This legislation rectifies that, and provides much-needed revenue to alleviate the increased strain that gaming causes on county services and infrastructure.”

The proposed legislation, which passed the Senate 59 to 1 and the Assembly 124-4, was called down to the governor’s desk Sept. 21, which some county officials interpreted Sept. 22 to be a positive sign.

“There’s no question that this should be signed in fairness to the municipalities involved, to protect the taxpayers and be like other counties,” Magee said. “It is the right thing to do; call on the governor to sign this bill and express your desire to protect your rights.”

Their efforts were apparently unsuccessful.

“This is political payback for not endorsing [Cuomo],” Becker said, ending the conversation.

Editor’s note: Martha E. Conway is publisher of MadisonCountyCourier.com.

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