YORKTOWN, N.Y. – State Assembly member Steve Katz (R,C,I–Yorktown) is receiving criticism from his fellow lawmakers in western New York after he made statements this week against the proposed state budget that would provide $60 million toward a new lease for the NFL's Buffalo Bills and cut $120 million in mental health funding.
Locally, Katz said Thursday that many of his local Westchester and Putnam constituents are supportive of his opposition to the spending plan.
Although the $60 million would be matched by Buffalo Bills ownership, Katz said he didn’t understand why the Assembly would support "a handful of people who go to the stadium eight days out of the year" and cut mental health funding in the state budget. The Assembly’s budget is set to go into effect on April 1.
Herman Farrell (D-Manhattan) told Katz that he and other supporters wanted to ensure that the team wouldn't decide to leave the state like the New York Giants and Jets to look for more lucrative deals in New Jersey.
“I don’t know how much money they’re making but there are a lot of questions as to where they can go to make more,” Farrell said on Monday. “So we’re working very hard to make sure we keep them because I don’t want to get beat up because they left Buffalo.”
Katz said “there’s no bigger football fan” than he, noting that he has a lot of support for “the only true New York football team.”
“I’ve watched them for a long time and I have lots of love and fond memories of that team,” Katz said Thursday. “But (owner) Ralph Wilson is a billionaire and this is a facility that isn’t used for more than eight days out of the year. True, he’s going to put in matching funds, but I have a hard time right now supporting this.”
Katz said he would soon be informed as to how the tax revenue would end up “paying for itself,” as western state lawmakers have said.