Democrats in the state Assembly have dropped their call for added financial penalties if the Buffalo Bills break their new lease with Erie County and New York.
A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, confirmed that the proposal has been dropped from budget negotiations, which continued Tuesday with a number of closed-door meetings with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Buffalo News first reported the decision earlier Tuesday.
The Assembly’s one-house budget proposal included a “clawback” provision, which would require the National Football League team to pay the state back for any public funds used for stadium upgrades if it left western New York within the first seven years of the new lease. The Bills lease takes effect this year, and was approved by the NFL last night.
But the Bills questioned the need for the Assembly proposal, calling it a “complete mystery.” The 10-year lease for county-owned Ralph Wilson Stadium includes a provision requiring the Bills to pay $400 million if it breaks the pact, except for after the seventh year, when the team would have a one-time-only chance to leave for $28 million.
The 10-year agreement requires the state to pay $123 million total in stadium renovations and yearly costs, while Erie County will pay $103 million. The team is contributing $44 million.
In August, Forbes pegged the value of the Bills at $805 million.