Fair Share 4 Albany

fair share for albany logoThe push for the city of Albany to get that additional $12.5 million from the state continues...

The Sheehan administration, backed by the city's state legislators, formally launched a campaign called Fair Share 4 Albany Thursday in an effort to focus attention on the bid for the inclusion of the "Capital City Funding" in the state budget.

The campaign -- with its own logo (that it's on the right), website, and social media streams -- is focused on the city's low level of state municipal aid per capita compared to other big cities around the state* and it's high level of tax-exempt property. And it's urging people to call elected state officials to press the case -- it even includes tips on what to say.

The $12.5 million didn't show up in the Cuomo admin's 30-day budget amendments last week, setting off a scramble for the mayor's administration because the current budget relies on the money. Kathy Sheehan has said the city is facing the prospect of cuts to things like recreation programs and Alive at Five if the money doesn't come through.

It'll be interesting to see if 1) people actually do pick up the phone and call because of this campaign, and 2) how it's received by state leaders, especially since the city's representatives don't have a lot of clout within the state legislature right now***.

The state budget -- well, state politics in general -- always seems to include behind-closed-doors soap opera involving various vendettas and shifting allegiances. The city has a good case to make, but is that enough?

* Albany gets $128 per person in AIM, the state's main municipal aid. Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse all get more than $400. With the additional $12.5 million (which wouldn't technically be AIM, but let's go with it), Albany would be getting $255 per person.

** Roughly 63 percent of the city's property value is tax exempt, according to the Sheehan admin.

*** State Senator Neil Breslin isn't part of the majority coalition in the Senate. And Assembly members Pat Fahy and John McDonald are relatively new to the chamber, so they don't have a lot of seniority.

Earlier on AOA:
+ The untaxed city within the city
+ Does Albany get a fair share of state aid?


Good idea. I am not sure how effective it can be but we must try.

The lack of State funding is a huge issue for Albany, and 'fair share' is the right way to look at it. Having said that, however, the Sheehan administration has done a terrible job of managing its own finances. The time for belt-tightening was several years ago. Instead, she has given raises to her highest-paid staff. Hell, matt Peter, her political operative/campaign manager, is getting $140,000 from us taxpayers every year.

@Stan: For the sake of clarity: Are you referring to his role as executive director of the Albany Parking Authority? Last year the TU reported that job paid $115k. And, as far as I can tell, that authority is funded by the revenue it collects.

Surely she jests...on our state tax revenue tab.
a. Albany has been the State Capital since 1797, when they moved up from Kingston.
b. The mayor's prior elected job was TREASURER.
c. She's been spending her way through public union contract "negotiations" during her 6-plus years as a fiscal officer of the city.
d. Her bio says she helped grow a company from 500 to 1200 employees.
e. Property taxes and vacant properties downtown are staggering, and the roads to get there, even worse.
f. Until about 40 years ago, Erastus Corning et al never took a dime of federal funding for fear of federal regulation and intervention.
g. Now, for the X years running, the city under the past two or three administration has beggared the Governor to cover their wanton personnel spending.
h. All this in the face of early police and fireman retirement options whose pension benefits will be payouts long into mid-century.
How come nobody has considered the upside of these early retirements and enforce attrition? And if they have, why has the mayor not made public rally announcements and posters and hoopla about literally saving the City?

By the way, looks like I can see why Albany fell out of line from other upstate cities:
There were certain programs "for cities of more than 100k but less than 1M residents" - and guess what? Albany doesn't qualify for those. Things were folded into what is now AIM, but apparently things were always based on historic numbers. So Big Four are Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers, and they are in a different league than Albany...

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