Albany is using your tax dollars to bail out fiscally stressed Niagara Falls in order to avoid layoffs.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday the state is giving $12.3 million to Niagara Falls. The money is the same amount in casino revenue the Seneca Nation would have paid to the State over the past 18 months. Last year, the Compact agreement between the Seneca Nation and the State ended after 14 years of payments.
The Seneca Nation says their financial agreement ended, and they are no longer responsible for the payments.
Seneca Nation President Todd Gates released the following statement:
“Per the Compact, the Seneca Nation completed our payment obligation 18 months ago. Governor Cuomo and Mayor Dyster can try to ignore and talk around that fact all they like, but the Compact is very clear. Over the course of our completed 14-year payment period to New York State, the Seneca Nation sent over $1.4 billion to Albany. The state kept 75 percent of that money, sending only 25 percent back to local communities. For its own part, the City of Niagara Falls received and spent hundreds of millions of dollars over that time, coming to depend on the revenue as a budget-balancing crutch, rather than a tool to stimulate and revitalize its tax base. The language of the Compact never changed. Perhaps state and city leaders should look in the mirror and wonder about their own failure to plan for what the Compact says. If the Governor wants to prop up the Mayor’s failed financial leadership with the hundreds of millions of dollars in Seneca money which the state received and kept, that is a matter between their governments. For our part, we will prepare for the upcoming arbitration proceedings, which the state initiated once we fulfilled our Compact payment obligations. The Compact is crystal clear on our 14-year payment obligations, and we believe that will be upheld through the Compact’s binding arbitration.”
"In the meantime, Niagara Falls is suffering and the State wants to do what it can do," said Cuomo.
"We were looking at the possibility large scale layoffs," said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
Arbitration is going on right now between the State and the Senecas. Hearings begin in December.