Photo Courtesy of Rep. Lowey’s Office
“This vital aid is absolutely necessary to protect essential health, public safety, education, and other jobs and services in state and local governments and to mitigate an unimaginable economic impact from this pandemic,” Rep. Lowey said.
By Forum Staff
Two Empire State elected officials this week announced a $67 billion proposal to provide direct relief to New York state, county, and local governments to help them recover from lost revenue and unexpected costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the measure is part of major coronavirus relief legislation, the Heroes Act, which U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester and Rockland) introduced Tuesday to support the continued coronavirus response and recovery. If enacted, the Democrats’ spending package would provide an estimated $34.4 billion in relief funds for New York State, $17.2 billion for New York City, and $15.1 billion for other municipalities and counties in New York.
According to Schumer and Lowey, in addition to $67 billion in new funding for governments in New York, the relief package would allow the use of new and prior COVID-19 relief funds to replace lost revenue. Combined with $5.2 billion in relief funds for New York in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic SecurityAct, this bill would provide the state nearly $40 billion to help cover lost revenues and expenses due to the pandemic.
“Our state, county and local governments have ratcheted up their spending to confront the COVID challenge, even while the virus has ripped a hole in their budgets due to collapsing revenue. Providing urgent relief to state, county and local governments is not an abstract concept—it is keeping cops, firefighters, bus drivers and more on the job; it is preserving vital services during a pandemic; and it is staving off tax hikes at the worst possible time for the economy,” Schumer said.
“As the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York has acted aggressively and responsibly to protect the entire nation at a very high cost to our state and our communities. Expenses to protect families have skyrocketed while revenues have dried up due to job loss and stay home orders,” Lowey added. “This vital aid is absolutely necessary to protect essential health, public safety, education, and other jobs and services in state and local governments and to mitigate an unimaginable economic impact from this pandemic.”
According to the most recent jobs report, released earlier this month, the nation has already shed a million public sector jobs. “Failure to respond now to the crisis faced by state, county, and local governments “will certainly worsen the job loss and hurtle us toward a full-blown depression. Failure to take the corrective action now, when we have the resources to and time to do so, would be catastrophically damaging and profoundly irresponsible,” Schumer and Lowey said.
“This is critical funding to states, counties and cities, villages, and towns of every size throughout America to preserve jobs and essential services for their citizens this year and years to come,” they added. “Massive cuts will continue and deepen until Congress steps up. This fund is essential to keeping local economies afloat as the nation grapples with the pandemic and its economic fallout for years to come.”