Gov. Cuomo’s war of passive-aggressive slaps with the Legislature escalated further this week. How long before it goes nuclear? In the runup to Thanksgiving, Cuomo’s pawns on a special committee dashed lawmakers’ hopes of getting a raise. In response, the Legislature’s leaders aimed to ruin the gov’s holiday, by sending him 136 bills to sign…
The upcoming legislative session will be an important one. Newly elected State Senator Chris Jacobs (R-Buffalo) will be expected to deliver a new statewide law on term limits, the cornerstone of his impressive landslide election victory. Operatives speculate that his political career will be won or lost on this issue.
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) is expected to secure $300 million in new capital improvements for the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s nearly 4,000 units. She, with BMHA Executive Director Dawn Sanders-Garrett, have called for the special state funding last year, given the state of the agency’s 28 properties. Removing lead paint and lead pipes from the massive complexes will be among the agency’s priorities.
Williamsville residents — including the Mayor of the Village Brian Kulpa — want the State Department of Transportation to build new I-90 exit and entrance ramps at Youngs Road, behind the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Improved access to the I-90 would alleviate congestion bottlenecks at Transit Road and Main Street, and give East Amherst communities better access to the interstate and easier commutes to Buffalo.
Mayor Byron Brown is being pressured by activists — including Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux, the region’s highest profile Black Lives Matter advocate — to make a revolving loan fund available to small minority and women owned businesses engaged in government construction contracting. Many small firms lack the working capital required to make payroll on government projects because of the slow process for vendor payments. They are then unable to participate in government work, reinforcing structural economic inequalities in the starkly segregated city.
The city is sitting on $90 million in reserves. Martin-Brodeaux is insisting that the city contribute $20 million, while securing a matching $20 million from the state this session. It’s unclear whether Byron, the State Democratic Chairman, will use his political clout to lobby for the revolving loan fund personally in Albany. Martin-Bordeaux suspects that he will.