Local leaders briefed on governor's spending planby jmaloni
Hoyt brings budget session to Lockport
Top government officials from Niagara County, Lockport and surrounding communities were on hand Wednesday at Lockport City Hall to receive a briefing on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's 2012-13 executive budget from one of the state's top economic development officials.
Sam Hoyt, the former Buffalo assemblyman tapped to serve as senior vice president for regional economic development at the Empire State Development Corp., addressed an audience of approximately 65 individuals, primarily representatives of local and county government, on the $132.5 billion proposed spending plan.
The final budget passed by New York state's government will impact county, municipal and school budgets in the form of mandated local spending and state aid. Local leaders have urged Albany to develop a mechanism to fully fund state mandates.
As part of efforts by the Cuomo Administration to build support for the budget, Hoyt and other top administration officials are delivering similar briefings in all 150 of the state's Assembly districts.
Among the local leaders in attendance was Niagara County Treasurer Kyle R. Andrews, who thanked Hoyt for providing local government officials with the budget synopsis.
"I think a lot of us were certainly extremely pleased to see the continued efforts out of Albany to place fiscal constraints on their spending and to create an environment more conducive to local business and job creation - and with an eye toward reducing the cost of operations for local governments," Andrews said.
"I know that I'm particularly optimistic about the proposed freeze in Medicaid cost increases and the Tier VI pension reform, which target the two largest drivers of county cost from year to year," Andrews noted. "Addressing those two cost drivers is critical to making Niagara County more competitive when it comes to things like drawing employers to our region."
Andrews, Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker, and Legislature Deputy Majority Leader Dave Godfrey spoke directly with Hoyt after the briefing, relating local concerns about major cost drivers, and reiterating local support for reducing the local share of Medicaid and pension funding.