BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For years, whether or not the Buffalo Bills would stay in Western New York was among the biggest concerns for the team's fan base.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo led a Bills cheer at this year's State of the State address shortly after the team broke it's 17 season playoff drought.
When Terry and Kim Pegula purchased the team in 2014, they largely alleviated relocation concerns. Even before that, a 2012 agreement between the organization, Erie County and the state essentially locked the Bills into Orchard Park for a decade.
"When they were part of a new 10-year lease that the Buffalo Bills signed to stay in Buffalo, monies were provided or committed to renovations at what was then Ralph Wilson stadium," state Senator Pat Gallivan, R-Elma, said.
So why are there two lines in the Governor's proposed budget allocating roughly $7 million for services and expenses related to the retention of professional football in Western New York?
"I looked at this particular provision and the language certainly raises questions," Gallivan said.
The state Division of Budget said the lines, which appear in the Capital Projects and Aid to Localities appropriations bills are nothing new. In fact, since 2013 the legislature has approved similar payments each year and that's expected to continue through 2022 to cover New York's original $54 million commitment, now adjusted for inflation.
"We're bound by a contract that the state entered into so it's something that we really have to approve and don't have a choice so long as we want to honor the commitment that we made in the contract that's in place," Gallivan said.
He said while the Bills loyal fan-base was a consideration at the time, keeping the Bills in New York State also made financial sense.
"With the sales collected, with the income taxes that are collected, the state receives about $20 million annually from the fact that the Buffalo Bills are here," Gallivan said.
He said the way the appropriations are described in the budget does leave something to be desired.
"I think in a general sense and in the large picture, there can and should be many reforms to the way that the budget is presented in its written form or in its digital form it could be presented in a much more understandable plain language fashion," Gallivan said.
As for what happens when the lease runs out, team ownership hasn't indicated whether they'd prefer to stay in the current stadium or build a new one.