Valesky, Magee join county to seek Cuomo OK for host county aid

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WAMPSVILLE — Sen. David J. Valesky, D-53, Oneida, state Assemblyman William D. Magee D-121, Nelson, and Madison County Board of Supervisors Board Chairman John Becker this morning urged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign legislation granting Madison County host county status for Oneida Indian Nation gaming operations. Such a designation would give the county a share of the gambling revenues.

Valesky and Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker both asked county resident to contact the governor’s office and urge Cuomo to sign the legislation.

The bill would allow the county to realize what it considers a fair share of Oneida Indian Nation gaming revenue.

This morning’s press conference was called after Cuomo called the bill to his desk for consideration yesterday.

The countdown of 10 days to sign or veto does not include Sundays.

“The county should be treated as the same as every other host county,” said Magee after the event.

“There was no gaming in New York State when the settlement agreement was negotiated and adopted in 2013, and the possibility of such future gaming was never discussed or contemplated. I know the Governor will do the right thing and sign this legislative to ensure the residents of Madison County are treated the same as every other community in New York State when it comes to the sharing of gaming revenue,” Becker said.

If the legislation is approved, it would give the county a larger share of gaming revenue generated under the 2013 agreement between the state, Madison and Oneida counties, and the Oneida Indian Nation because it would named as a host county.

The tribe had no gaming facilities in Madison County when the agreement was approved by the tribe, state and both counties.

The bills passed 57-1 in the state Senate on April 11 and 124-4 in the state Assembly on April 12. It now awaits Cuomo’s signature.

Madison County says it is the only county of eight in the state that hosts a casino and does not receive payments for the infrastructure it provides to casinos.

On May 30, 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a settlement had been reached between the state, Madison and Oneida counties and the Oneida Nation to settle their long-standing tax and trust land issues.

As part of the land agreement, the Oneida Nation pays 25 percent of its slot machine revenue, approximately $50 million at the time, to the state.

No state or local taxes are collected by the Oneidas at their businesses, including Turning Stone Resort Casino in Oneida County. However, they impose their own levies like sales tax — comparable to the state and local ones — and keep the money for tribal governmental purposes.

Madison County receives $3.5 million a year from the state’s slot machine share. In addition, it received a one-time payment of $11 million from the Oneidas to settle past tax claims.

The county justifies its claim as a host county because it provides infrastructure to the nation’s convenience stores in the county that have slot machines and the Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango.

The stores were outfitted with slot machines and the Yellow Brick Road opened after the settlement with the state was reached.

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