Mayor Bill de Blasio expresses concern over delays in COVID-19 relief package

Mayor Bill de Blasio expresses concern over delays in COVID-19 relief package
Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed concern at the continued delays by lawmakers to pass the COVID-19 relief package.

The New York Times reported in October that the unemployment rate in New York City is 16 percent, twice as high as the rest of the country. Personal income tax revenue is expected to drop by $2 billion this fiscal year. Only a third of hotel rooms are occupied, and apartment vacancies in Manhattan have hit a peak.

New York, more than any large city in the world, has been forced to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak’s dual paths of devastation: The virus has killed 24,000 people in the city and has sapped it of hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue.

And even as the city has contained the spread of the virus, it has been unable to exert control over its threat to the economy.

Numerous economic indicators suggest that New York City will face an extended financial crisis, the likes of which has not been seen since the 1970s.

The city has already slashed spending to make up for billions of dollars in lost tax revenue, but it may lose billions more.

Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have repeatedly asked the Trump administration for help, but the president, a native New Yorker who openly scorns his city of birth, has instead threatened to cut its federal funding. 

During a press briefing at City Hall Monday, mayor de Blasio said the stimulus package was months overdue.

"It's months and months overdue remembering that the house representatives acted six months ago and we have not seen a major stimulus. What is on the table can charitably be described as a down payment.Certainly every city and state in America can take an infusion of help right now but this can only be seen as a small beginning to what we really need which is a huge stimulus to put us all back on our feet and move the economy forward and move the recovery," said mayor de Blasio in reference to the latest aid package of $908 billion which lawmakers appear to have agreed on and are on the verge of passing. 

Mayor de Blasio however, said the city will come up with its own budget bearing in mind that the stimulus package was not guaranteed.

"We are going to be building our budget knowing that the stimulus is a question mark whether there is going to be a vote this week or before congress goes into session. We don't know what is going to happen once Joe Biden is president. We have to take care of our own people as best as we can and keep fighting for the best stimulus. The reality is that it's going to play out overtime. What we do with the budget now may be very different from what we do in April and June. That's a long time and a lot of opportunity for Joe Biden to get us a better stimulus," concluded mayor de Blasio.