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Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan testifies before state budget committee as part of annual “tin cup day”

Screenshot of Mayor Sheehan testifying virtually
Screenshot
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State of New York
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan is asking that the $15 million of Capital City Funding in the state budget be made permanent.

Continuing a yearly tradition, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and mayors from other cities including New York City's Eric Adams testified before state lawmakers Wednesday as they seek state funding to plug budget holes.

Sheehan gave her annual “tin cup day” budget testimony virtually to the New York State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees.

She reiterated Albany's case for Capital City Funding, which, for the first time, is included Governor Kathy Hochul's budget proposal, saying Albany is treated like no other city.

"I have been typically coming to this group with a challenge that's unique to the city of Albany, talking about the inequities of AIM funding, the fact that the state owns 64% of the property, or 64% of the property in the city is not taxable and the overwhelming majority of that is owned by the state," Sheehan said. "And this body has always been very supportive of our requests for Capital City Funding. And I am very pleased to see that the governor for the first time has also recognized that this funding is critically important to the city of Albany and put it in the executive budget."

Sheehan, a third-term Democrat, says Albany has received $12 million in Capital City Funding the last four years – a half-million short each year, as the mayor routinely asked for $12.5 to fill the city’s budget gap.

Sheehan noted the impacts of the inequity on the city and shared her views on Aid and Incentives for Municipalities funding.

"It hasn't risen, as you've heard in a number of years, while we see other areas of the budget and aid to other very important institutions like our schools go up, we continue to struggle," said Sheehan. "And now more than ever, as cities are trying to ensure that we have full staffs in place, all of us are struggling with recruitment of police officers, firefighters, and uniquely to Albany because we are here in the capital, And the state is very generous with their pay and benefits. I feel like almost every other week, I'm losing a super talented person to the state. I'm glad that they're going to go and benefit the state, but it makes it a very challenging our hiring environment. So I think it's very important that we revisit AIM."

Sheehan is asking that the $15 million of Capital City Funding in the state budget be made permanent. Fellow-Democrat Robert Jackson represents the Senate's 31st district on the West Side of Manhattan.

“Albany is our state capital. And if in fact, you need that in order to carry out your businesses, businesses as far as Albany is concerned," Jackson said. "And I heard you say how much you losing people as far as employees of the city of Albany to the state of New York. I mean, what's right is right, and what's fair is fair, and quite frankly, you deserve it. And anything that I can do as a state senator from New York City, not, you know, to be advocating for New York City, I can do that separately, but I want to make sure you're treated correctly. When I say you, the city of Albany and the people of Albany.”

Sheehan also testified that her administration has been working diligently to improve Albany's housing opportunities and that she supports local Good Cause Eviction laws like Albany’s.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.