Late Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders announced that they had a basic agreement around the 2015-16 state budget. And that agreement, they said, included the governor's request for $1.5 billion to fund the Upstate Revitalization Competition.
But yesterday, the whole matter got a little hazy. Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos made some remarks about all seven Upstate region's getting a piece of the pie, and some key staffers weren't even sure whether the Upstate Revitalization Competition would be a competition, after all.
The picture cleared a bit, overnight. Here's my understanding of what's happening: the $1.5 billion in the budget will indeed be awarded competitively; the seven Upstate regions — the Buffalo-Niagara region excluded — will compete for one of three $500 million awards.
The awards, according to one source, will theoretically clear the way for the other four regions to receive some extra funding during the Regional Economic Development Council process.
The winning Upstate regions in the Revitalization Competition would get capital funding for projects; the capital funding available through the Regional Economic Development Councils would probably be focused on the regions that didn't win the competition.
Don't take any of this as gospel. But it's the most complete picture I've been able to put together on an issue that's still being negotiated.