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Madison County: Cuomo vetoes casino revenue-sharing bill

WAMPSVILLE, N.Y. — Madison County officials are reacting after Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have provided the county with its “fair share of revenue” for any gaming facility located in the county.

The measure would have amended the state finance law to permit the sharing of revenue from casinos located in the county, the Madison County Board of Supervisors said in a statement issued Monday.

Cuomo vetoed the bill on Friday, the statement said.


The legislation would have provided Madison County additional revenue sharing from the Oneida Indian Nation’s Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango, which represents an expansion of the Oneida Nation’s gaming efforts.

The veto means Madison County is the “only county” in New York to host a casino gaming facility “but not receive host community benefits.”

“The governor constantly touts his commitment to upstate New York, but I guess that does not include Madison County. I am not sure why our residents are being treated differently than every other county’s residents,” John Becker, chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors, said in the news release.

Cuomo vetoed the bill because “as drafted, it may have jeopardized [New York’s] current agreements with Oneida Nation,” according to an article on the website of Time Warner Cable News.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in May 2013 announced an agreement between the state and the Oneida Indian Nation that has the Nation paying the state an estimated $50 million a year in Turning Stone Resort Casino revenue in return for a guarantee that no other casinos are built in Central New York.

For over two years now, Madison County, following direction from Cuomo’s office, has worked to address this “glaring disparity.”

Initially, Cuomo’s office directed the county to meet with the New York State Gaming Commission on drafting a supplemental agreement that “ultimately went nowhere.”

Subsequently, the office instructed Madison County that it needed to address the disparity “through the budget process.”

“Finally, when the issue was not addressed during the budget process, the governor’s office decided the County needed legislation to correct this wrong,” according to the statement.

Madison County, with the support of State Senator Dave Valesky (D–Oneida) and State Assemblyman (D–Nelson) Bill Magee, worked to have lawmakers in both chambers pass the legislation with a vote of 183-5.

“After all of our good faith efforts, undertaken at the direction of the governor’s office, the decision was to veto,” the statement said. 

In the veto message, Cuomo instructed Madison County to “once again to go back to the budget office.”

“We are not sure why Madison County residents continue to get the run around from the governor’s office,” Dan Degear, vice chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors, said in the county’s statement.

“Sadly, in recent weeks it’s become clear that too many decisions made in Albany are not based on the merits. We aren’t looking for a billion; we are just looking for our fair share,” Becker added.

Lawmakers react
New York State Sens. David Valesky and Assemblyman Bill Magee on Monday also released a joint statement following Friday’s veto.

“It goes without saying that we are most disappointed with the recent veto of Madison County gaming legislation that was overwhelmingly approved by both the Senate and Assembly earlier this year. Madison County now hosts casino gaming within its borders but does not receive host community benefits, a situation this legislation would have rectified. However, we are encouraged that the governor has directed his budget director ‘to review and explore a revenue-sharing formula that would provide Madison County with an appropriate portion of the revenue generated from such gaming devices.’ In this regard, we look forward to continuing to work with the Madison County Board of Supervisors and the governor’s office to bring about a long-term solution that best serves Madison County residents,” the state lawmakers said.

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