Andrew Cuomo resignation introduces new dynamic to Bills stadium negotiations

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks at Westchester
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In 14 days, Andrew Cuomo will be out as governor of New York. At that point, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul will take over, and her first order of business undoubtedly will be preparing a successful campaign to secure the gig more permanently via the November 2022 election.

This sudden change necessarily affects the negotiations between the Bills and county and state officials for a new stadium. The Bills want plenty of public money and they want to move quickly, given that the current lease expires in 2023. Hochul will need to assess whether and to what extent a major financial commitment to the only NFL team that actually plays in New York will affect her interests in a statewide election.

If she moves to strike a deal too quickly (and if the deal is viewed as too favorable to the billionaires who own the team), it could be used against her in the Democratic primary. Then again, whatever she does will be used against her by opponents. Move too quickly, move too slowly, give too much, don’t give enough. Anything and everything to get people to vote for someone other than the interim incumbent.

The challenge for the Bills becomes finding a way to entice her to do a deal that’s favorable to the team without exposing her to political peril. And it will be important to get everything wrapped up and concluded before the election, in order to prevent a possible replacement from undoing whatever Hochul happens to do.

Last week, before the final dominoes that resulted in Cuomo leaving office began to fall, Hochul (a Buffalo native) said this: “The numbers are not going to be discussed today. They’re unknown at this point because we’re just having preliminary conversations. But let the fans know we’re very excited about the upcoming season. And we expect the Bills will be here a very long time.”

In other words, the state will take all reasonable steps aimed at keeping the team in Buffalo. If the owners reject the deal and/or ultimately find a better deal elsewhere and take it, that will be on them not the politicians.

It therefore wouldn’t be all that difficult to spin a decision by the Bills to reject the best offer of public money. It becomes trickier if Hochul and the state/county collaboration will get the team what it wants or something close to it, especially at a time when the public mood is decisively against public money for rich private interests.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that the notion that the Bills want a stadium fully funded by taxpayer money is a deliberate moonshot that was intentionally leaked so that, if/when the final number lands in the area of 40-50 percent, Hochul will look like a hero — and that, in turn, she’ll have a major feather in her cap as she tries to parlay a short-term stint into an official four-year term.

12 responses to “Andrew Cuomo resignation introduces new dynamic to Bills stadium negotiations

  1. She might try to do her best to help the Bills. Born in Buffalo, served on the Hamburg Town Board for 14 years. Then served Erie County as a deputy clerk and later county clerk.

  2. “especially at a time when the public mood is decisively against public money for rich private interests”

    Fortunately, the people who will decide this are the people in New York state. Anyone outside of NY state does not have the right to have an opinion on the issue. 99% of decisions belong at the local level and not in the court of national or international public opinion.

  3. Make the people who will attend pay most of it.

    If you are going to subsidize a stadium that hosts 8 or 9 games per year, plus a playoff game or two on occasion then why not subsidize bowling alley, movie theaters, my uncles miniature gold course, and a whole bunch of other special interests.

  4. New Yorker Donald Trump could get the deal done at no cost to the taxpayer. Who’s going to pay for it? Toron-T-O! Who’s going to pay for it? Toron-T-O!

  5. This is pretty simple for legislature. Introduce/pass law that states teams must be offered to ‘locals’ or otherwise that will not be able to move said teams prior to relocation ….it was done in Ohio (too late) after the Modell fiasco in 1995 and it succeeded in keeping the Crew in Columbus in just the last several years. Screw the billionaire owners.

  6. This should be decided by the voters who are being asked to foot the bill. Politicians love construction deals – lots of money can flow under the table. The voters should decide.

  7. In New York and California, billions of taxpayers dollars go to drunks and addicts calling themselves homeless, and billions go to illegals. Just throwing taxpayer dollars at crap just so they can say they’re doing all they can. Every taxpayer I know all agree that let our taxpayer dollars go towards something cool like a new stadium. But the crybaby’s go on Twitter and say noooo way don’t help billionaires. Yet they think it’s all good to give billions to drunks and dopers and illegals.

  8. This woman is not going to let the Bills walk away on her watch.
    She wouldn’t be able to show her face in Western New York, for one thing. For another, she certainly wants to get the WNY votes to remain governor.

  9. How are the Pegulas any different from Bon Jovi/Rogers group? Seriously…at least they were transparent with the future plans & got roasted for it.

  10. “Anyone outside of NY state does not have the right to have an opinion on the issue.”

    They may not get a vote but this won’t stop anyone from having an opinion.

  11. I agree that negotiations should take place, and the starting point for the city should be that the Pegulas will put in at least $650 million, which was the relocation fee paid by the Rams and Chargers – and it may be more now.

    There’s no reason that billionaires can’t cough up one half to 3/4 of the cost. Considering that they alone will benefit, it’s a total con to have taxpayers foot the entire bill.

  12. So the Bills lease their stadium from the owners. The owners have been known to hold other events at this same venue, such as Concerts, bringing in additional revenue. So why wouldn’t the people leasing the property make it known that the building cannot be saved, and the owners should help facilitate an upgrade? I see this being typical business in the US.

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