Counties Shouldn’t Pay For State AIM ‘Restoration’

Don’t believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s crocodile tears over towns and villages that would be hurt by his budget proposal to eliminate their state aid.

After acknowledging their pain, he said he would reverse course and “keep them whole” — but what he didn’t say is that he would make counties pay for it, not the state. That’s like a bully stealing another kid’s lunch and then, after admitting the poor kid needs some nourishment, making other kids give it to him from their lunchboxes.

The governor is not changing his plan to zero out funding through the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities program for any municipality that relied on it for less than 2 percent of its 2017 budget — and by the way, that includes water-sewer-electric budgets, which come from separate fees and can’t use AIM.

Instead, he said AIM should be fully paid for using new revenue from sales tax collection on internet purchases — set to start this year. But he never said the state, which collects 4 percent sales tax, would not put a dime of its revenue toward this; he would force counties to pay for it from their revenue. It’s another unfunded mandate, and a mean one, feeding the long-held impression that Cuomo has it in for local governments.

The state Legislature should reject this proposal outright.