(This won’t be a political post, I promise. This isn’t the place.)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed his 2012 budget recently, and notably it contains the potential for millions of dollars in funding to help keep the Bills in New York.
In a recent media appearance, Cuomo stressed how important it is to keep the Bills in Buffalo:
“The Bills are very important not just to Western New York, but the entire state. We want to keep the Bills here. I’m looking forward to being part of a cooperative effort to keep them here. Obviously money is tight. We all know that. The taxpayers are not in position to be shelling out more money…but the Bills are important and I want to be a big part of keeping them here.”
Cuomo really stressed the Buffalo area in this budget, including around $1 billion in economic investment for the troubled city. Obviously it would be a very big blow to the city’s already fragile psyche if the Bills were to leave. Also, it would leave the state of New York NFL-free, as the Jets and Giants are really in New Jersey.
Here’s why Cuomo’s commitment to the Bills is important: the team’s lease on the stadium in Orchard Park is up in 2013. After that, the Bills would technically be free to leave. The team has indicated that it wants upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium if the Bills are to stay. And believe me when I say there’s not a lot of money for that in the Western New York tax base.
There will be a lot of hand-wringing, but I imagine the stadium upgrades will get done and the team will stay. Cuomo’s managed to push everything he wants through in New York so far, and you can bet he’ll help grease the wheels on this. It’s definitely scary though, as at some point some team is going to leave for Los Angeles.
Let’s just hope it’s not the Bills.