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Gov. Hochul tries to make sure state lawmakers, public sold on Bills deal

New York State would technically own the new stadium and adjacent facilities under the announced deal.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — From the state's perspective, there is the "bulk" of that public funding commitment at $600 million dollars for the new Bills stadium agreement.

New York State would technically own the new stadium and adjacent facilities under the announced deal. And Governor Hochul says she will now have to include that $600 million in the state budget which is actually due at the end of the week. 

Actually, the state will create a new state agency - in essence, a spinoff from Empire State Development to be called the Erie County Stadium Corporation to again take over the stadium properties and other Bills' training facilities like Adrpro Field House and their attached administrative offices.

To sell all this to statewide taxpayers and state lawmakers from downstate and elsewhere who must approve, the governor gave a bit of her sales pitch, mentioning direct tax payments to the state throughout the 30-year lease. 

"In terms of direct revenues to the state of New York - over 19 million dollars and that number is going to continue to increase. That is what we count for the income tax on the players' salaries. Again that's going to continue going up.  As well as the additional money that's counting up to 27 Million dollars of direct benefit because of sales tax from hotel beds and restaurants and extra engagement with the hospitality industry with out-of-town visitors coming in from all over.

She added with a calculation. 

"That's 27 million in direct payment to the state se anticipate and when  you take that in the context of a 600 million dollar state share - our share is paid off after 22 years of a 30-year agreement."

Hochul also tried to stress that point this is relatively less of an investment for the state and its taxpayers than past stadium projects here. "In the context of our total share of public financing - the total share of public financing between the county and the state is 60.7%. Just comparing where we were in the past. When this stadium was originally built - in 1973 -100% of that was financed by the public. And even then renovations in 1998 - 100% financed by the public sector. And our financing back in 2013 when the renovations were made - that was 73%. So again we negotiated hard, we drove those numbers down and now our state share is 43 percent and the public share overall is only 60.7%."

Governor Hochul claims that roughly 61 percent share for taxpayers is actually better than stadium projects in cities like Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Baltimore. Even though we've seen other stories disputing those claims at $850 in public money between the state and Erie County may be less than the one billion dollar figure rumors we heard for a taxpayers share. 

So now it's up to state and county lawmakers to figure out if they agree.


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