Lawmakers from Western New York in a closed-door meeting of state Assembly Democrats on Monday gave an "eloquent" defense of the plan to fund a Buffalo Bills stadium in Orchard Park using $850 million in taxpayer funding for the construction.
Funding the stadium's construction, announced initially last week by Gov. Kathy Hochul, has emerged as a point of contention in the state budget negotiations.
The plan calls for $600 million in state funding, along with $250 million in money from Erie County. Hochul has also indicated she plans to use more than $400 million in money from the Seneca Nation of Indians gaming compact to fund the stadium's construction.
But the plan has drawn opposition from some lawmakers, who questioned the heavy state-financed subsidization of a football stadium.
Lawmakers from the Buffalo and Rochester areas in the meeting with Assembly Democrats defended the plan, according to a lawmaker in the room who is considered to be on the fence about the proposal. The lawmakers pointed to state spending on major destination projects in the New York City region, including Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, as well as the Moynihan Train Hall.
New York's budget was expected to pass last Friday, but a range of issues, including ongoing negotiations surrounding potential changes to the state's 2019 bail law that largely ended cash requirements for many criminal charges has complicated the talks.
Hochul, speaking at the investitures at the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday morning, said issues surrounding public safety continue to be under discussion in the budget.