The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

More VLT revenue coming to the area

The final state budget sends more money to Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County for hosting the Saratoga Casino and Raceway than the communities have received in recent budgets.

The city will get about $1.8 million and the county will get a little more than $600,000 under the final agreement that was negotiated under the leadership of state Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, who was co-chair of the budget committee overseeing host payments for communities with a racino. The new language pays communities 55 percent of what they were originally due, which is a 10 percentage point increase over the proposed funding level for this year that was used the last two years also.

This was made possible because of Farley and his upstate Senate colleagues, who have advocated on this issue repeatedly. The state Senate's budget resolution included a complete restoration for the upstate sites hosting racinos, while the Assembly maintained the previous cut.

Senators Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, and Farley are co-sponsors of legislation to fully restore payments to host communities of racinos.

In 2008 the payment to Saratoga Springs was was more than $3 million, but those payments to the city and county stopped the next year because of a budget crunch. The payments were withheld the next year too.

Funding was partially restored in the state's budget in 2011, with the city receiving about $1.5 million and the county getting $499,000, which was about 45 percent of what they were owed. This level of funding was also in last year's state budget.

This is the final negotiated budget between the Assembly and Senate, which is expected to pass by Thursday.

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