BUFFALO, N.Y. - A year ago, in his budget, Gov. Cuomo pledged a billion dollars to help revitalize Buffalo. But, we still haven't seen any development from the funds.
And now, the plan for a billion dollars over five years will likely take a lot longer to get to our area.
When Cuomo announced the historic "Billion to Buffalo" plan a year ago, it was supposed to be a sweeping five-year plan with about $200 million coming to Buffalo each year.
"The fact that the budget appears to include only $100 million for this fiscal year and another $100 million for the following fiscal year, clearly suggests that there will be less money coming from that five-year time frame people had anticipated," said Jim Heaney of our news partner, Investigative Post.
While celebrating the new deal between the state, Erie County and the Buffalo Bills, the governor also said during his address Tuesday that the Billion to Buffalo project is suddenly a 10-year plan.
Assemblymember Sean Ryan, a Democrat of the 149th District, said "we can take our time and do the due diligence and hopefully use a billion dollars to actually change our economy."
No official explanation for the change has come from the Governor's office. Meantime, a representative of the project for Western New York wrote to Two On Your Side:
"Rome wasn't built in a day. We're pleased that the governor has remained committed to fulfilling his investment in Buffalo Niagara's regional economy," said Craig Turner, the vice president of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
So far, the first $200 million of the Billion to Buffalo has been set aside. Part of it will go to Albany Molecular Research, Inc., or AMRI, to bring a new drug and research center to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The Governor says the move will create 250 jobs. Last month, Investigative Post revealed that AMRI has not been profitable since 2008 and has laid 80 people off since 2010.
Ryan says that if companies don't do what's expected of them in Billion to Buffalo, then they have to give their money back to the state.
As for this upcoming budget year, the Governor proposes $100 million of funding, $75 million will be in grants and the rest will be in tax credits for certain companies that create jobs.
We made several calls to the Governor's office about this and no calls have been returned.