New York State has a new $168.3 billion spending plan in place that includes a new tax on the maker of addictive opioid drugs and funding to help hold the Dicks Sporting Goods Open in Endicott.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News [file][/caption]That latter piece of funding was hard fought as Binghamton Senator Fred Akshar locked horns with a downstate Senator over the need for the state support.

During the exchange, Akshar challenged his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to actually visit the Southern Tier, probably for the first time and said the region continues its fight against economic challenges.

The Binghamton Republican posted a video of the floor debate on his facebook feed saying he “became a little passionate” during the debate.

Akshar says the tournament brings in almost $15 million a year to the Southern Tier economy, results in hundreds of hires and raises millions for local charities.

Akshar called debate against the tournament funding laughable and said he wanted to remind the Senator from New York City that “not everything is the west side of Manhattan.”  He said the Southern Tier economy is “starving for good things to happen” and said the people in Albany “addicted to spending” have ruined the Southern Tier economy.

The legislation eventually passed, as did a measure to tax the manufacturers of addictive opioids in order to raise $100 million a year to combat addiction.

The budget passed early in the morning on Saturday, March 31, just hours before the start of New York’s fiscal year and following a series of negotiations between legislative leaders and the governor, conducted in private.

That “three men in a room” practice has long been criticized for its lack of transparency or chance for input from other lawmakers, agencies and residents.