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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, March 30

Tedisco on VLT aid: "Sometimes the long shots win"

Just got off the phone with Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Saratoga/Schenectady, who was on the Assembly floor about to begin debate on the budget bill that is set to restore about $2 million in video lottery terminal host aid to Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County.

Sen. Hugh Farley announced last Tuesday that an agreement had been reached between the Senate, Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would restore VLT host funding to 17 upstate municipalities at a rate of 45 percent of the aid received in 2008.

Under the plan, approved in a Senate budget bill earlier today and expected to be approved by the Assembly, Saratoga Springs is slated to receive $1,496,000, and Saratoga County would receive $499,000, for a total of $1,995,000.

"Sometimes the long shots win," Tedisco said today from the floor, thanking Farley and Sen. Roy McDonald for their work and advocacy on the issue.

As he did when the agreement was announced, Tedisco referred back to a Feb. 8 breakfast meeting between Cuomo and the Assembly Republican Conference where he was joined by lawmakers from several other districts in vocal opposition of the cuts.

"We were convincing with the fact that you shouldn't discriminate," he said of that meeting, adding that Cuomo was "true to his word" that he would reexamine the cuts.

The release that Tedicso sent on the restoration of the funds seemed a little off to me because it referred to the action as being perpetrated by "the Legislature," not "Assembly Republicans" or "The Saratoga Three" or anyone in particular, but rather, everyone.

This whole sense of agreement and unity between the Assembly, Senate and Gov. during these budget negotiations seems a little off to me. Where is the yelling with the gridlock and the negotiation breakdown and secret conference committees that are canceled midday?!?! What happened to three men in a room?

"The conference committees do work," said Farley during Senate debate today.

"I think you've got an adult in the room, his name is Andrew Cuomo," Tesicso said, when confronted with my utter confusion.

"If imitation is the highest form of flattery, I'm very proud to be a Republican," he said, taking a partisan shot while also praising Cuomo's fiscally conservative approach.

"I've never seen anything go as smooth as this," he said of this year's budget process, comparing Cuomo to the extra blade added onto the razor.

"He brought that smoothness to the blade," he said, "Or at least he removed the roughness from around the edges."


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