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Budget fight characters shape up

Round 1: budget fight! Legislators square off over legalizing mixed martial arts.
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Round 1: budget fight! Legislators square off over legalizing mixed martial arts.

The characters in the budget fight continue to shape up.  A coalition to combat the cuts that Governor Cuomo proposed in his budget has crystallized: GrowingTogetherNY.  Casey Seiler at Capitol Confidential reports that it's shaping up as an answer to the governor's Committee to Save NY.

Great combo: wine and mixed martial arts 
Nick Reisman at Gannett reports that supporters of two items that got left out of the budget - legalizing selling wine in grocery stores and mix martial arts fighting - are rallying to have their causes considered by the legislature:

Some lobbyists and legislators who have backed bills that would allow wine to be sold in grocery stores and for mixed martial arts events to be held in New York say the measures can still be acted on. "What I've said during my tenure here is this is a sport that offers an opportunity to generate revenue," said Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, Oneida County, of mixed martial arts-style fighting. Griffo said that instead of directly charging the industry to hold events in the state, New York would reap the benefits of MMA matches by collecting the expected bump in sales tax when an event is held.

Economic development programsJoe Spector at Gannett has more details on how Cuomo's budget will funnel cash from job creation programs into regional economic development councils:

Cuomo wants to redirect $200 million in state aid from prior jobs programs into the councils. Regions of the state would compete competitively for the money. "He's fundamentally changing the way economic development is applied, which is great," said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate, a business group. "He's putting the decision-making out in the regions, taking it out of Albany and New York City, which is a huge benefit."

Losing to Pa.
During a visit to Syracuse yesterday, Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy told a crowd that New York has been slow to respond to businesses interested in siting here in the past, reports Teri Weaver at the Post-Standard:

The response [from the state] was slow, Duffy said to a room full of politicians, business leaders and school officials at Le Moyne College this morning. That same business, who he didn’t name, called Pennsylvania. Ed Rendell, who was governor at the time, called back. That business went to Pennsylvania.

That's an example, Duffy says, of New York's economic woes being "self-inflicted."

Cuts to cancer center
Buffalo's cancer center, Roswell Park, is facing a $32.8 million cut reports Jay Rey at the Buffalo News:

Since this is just the start of the budget process, Roswell Park officials will be reaching out to local state legislators in hopes of getting some of the cuts restored, [Roswell Park executive director of governmental affairs Lisa] Damiani said. The proposed drop in state aid is a difficult pill to swallow for Roswell Park, which had previously fallen into disrepair following a decline in state funding. It just spent more than a decade improving the campus.

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