Travel and Tourism Committee Update
March 30, 2012
Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders announced an agreement on the budget earlier this week. Their final agreement included more money than originally proposed for both the “I Love NY” state marketing program and the county matching funds program.
A summary of provisions contained in the final budget that impacts various aspects of the travel and tourism industry is below including a new state Gaming Commission and the transfer of Belleayre Mountain operations to the Olympic Regional Development Authority. These bills are expected to be voted on Friday, March 30.
- Provides $2.830 million for the “I Love NY” program. This is an increase from the $2.5 million first proposed (State Operations S.6250-D/A.9050-D).
- Provides $3.985 million for the county matching funds program. (Aid to Localities, S.6253-E/A.9053-E).
- NY Wine and Grape Foundation funding at $713,000 (Aid to Localities, S.6253-E/A.9053-E).
- Maintains funding level of $196,000 each for the Beekmantown and Binghamton gateway information centers (Aid to Localities, S.6253-E/A.9053-E).
- Allocates $25,000,000 to Aqueduct for video gaming lottery terminals (Capital Appropriations, S.6254-D/A.9054-D).
- Does not accept the Senate's proposal to amend Section 196-d of the Labor Law to codify how catering and banquet facilities handle service charges not meant to be gratuities.
- Senator Martins and Assemblyman Goldfeder have sponsored S.6299/A9439 which would provide this same clarity for businesses; this bill has been referred to each houses' respective Labor Committees.
- Merges the Racing and Wagering Board and Division of Lottery consolidating their power and authority into the newly created state Gaming Commission within the executive department (State Mergers, S.6260-C/A.9060-C, Part A).
- The new Gaming Commission will serve as the state's single entity for oversight of all gaming activity.
- The Gaming Commission will have general jurisdiction over gaming activities including issuing licenses and the ability to examine the records and accounting of corporations and persons engaged or seeking to engage in gaming activities.
- The Gaming Commission will be authorized to collect all license and registration fees and impose and collect civil penalties and fines for any violations.
- Establishes four divisions within the Gaming Commission:
- Division of Lottery which will operate and administer the state lottery for education, this does not include video lottery gaming.
- Division of Charitable Gaming will supervise and administer games of chance licensing law, bingo licensing law and bingo control law.
- Division of Gaming's responsibilities include the administration, oversight and regulation of Indian gaming and video lottery gaming.
- Division of Horse Racing & Pari-mutuel Wagering will be responsible for the administration, oversight and regulation of horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering.
- The commission will consist of 7 members appointed by the Governor with the consent of the senate. The Temporary President of the Senate will make a recommendation to the Governor for one of the members as will the Speaker of the Assembly.
- Creates the Office of Racing Promotion and Development within the Gaming Commission that will be responsible for promoting horse breeding and the conduct of equine research. The Office will also administer the state thoroughbred and development fund, the agriculture and New York state horse breeding development fund and the New York state quarter horse breeding and development fund corporation.
- Last week the New York State Legislature passed S.6734 (Bonacic)/A.9556 (Pretlow) to legalize enhanced casino gaming in seven locations; the locations and many other details still need to be determined. This was the first step towards a constitutional amendment which is necessary for the state to authorize enhanced casino gaming. The measure must pass two separate, consecutive legislatures and then go for a public vote before the constitutional amendment goes into effect. Click here to see the Governor's press release.
- Transfers operations of Belleayre Mountain from the Department of Environmental Conservation to the Olympic Regional Development Authority to assure the continued viability of Belleayre as an attractive year-round tourist destination (State Mergers, S.6260-C/A.9060-C, Part C).
- Increases the members on the authority from ten to twelve to provide for better regional representation; allows the Governor to appoint a chairperson, a vice chairperson and a second vice chairperson.
- Includes the commissioners of Environmental Conservation, Economic Development and of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
- Nine members will be appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate.
- One each will be appointed with the recommendation of the Temporary President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly.
- Three will be appointed upon the recommendation of the town of North Elba and must be residents of the park district.
- Two of the appointed must each reside in Ulster County and Delaware County.
- One must be a resident of Warren County.
- Also increases the membership of the Community Advisory Panel from fifteen to nineteen persons and requires two to be appointed by the Ulster County Legislature and two to be appointed by the Delaware County Legislature.
- The Hudson Valley agriculture advisory council (State Mergers, S.6260-C/A.9060-C, Part D).
- Dissolves the upstate and downstate New York tourism councils (State Mergers, S.6260-C/A.9060-C, Part D).