New York leaders write congressional delegation, demand state, local funding in stimulus bill
New York State and city leaders on Wednesday sent a letter to New York congressional delegation on the critical need for state and local funding in any stimulus bill in order to prevent massive damage.
The letter signed by New York State governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York State Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, Senator Majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and New York labor leaders, specifically mentioned New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
“You are aware of the desperate circumstances New York suffered at the outset of the COVID crisis and continues to endure today. We understand Congress is considering a short-term federal funding measure of approximately $908 billion in COVID-19 relief. As an interim measure, this proposal should address states’ immediate and pressing needs, and it is essential and fair that New York receive at least a minimum amount of funding necessary to stop further massive damage,” read the letter.
“It is important to remind your federal colleagues that New York paid a unique price for COVID. New York’s damages were a direct result of federal negligence. Unlike almost any other state, the COVID crisis in New York was caused by the COVID virus coming from Europe. Scientists have definitively traced our COVID strain from European countries. The Trump administration was either unaware or did not inform New York that the virus had travelled from China to Europe and was travelling to New York State,”
The letter states that the Trump administration banned travel from China on February 1, 2020 but did not ban European travel until March 16.
The leaders stated that by that time, over three million Europeans had travelled to New York and had been spreading the virus for months prior to the state’s notification.
“That explains the explosion of cases in New York State. These facts have been confirmed by Dr Redfield and Dr Fauci in testimony before Congress,” read the letter.
The letter states that federal aid in the $908 billion package must be proportionate to the damage incurred by States and consider the federal liability.
“New York has the highest number of deaths in the nation and has among the highest number of unemployed people in the nation because COVID came to New York before the Trump Administration even acknowledged COVID’s presence on the eastern seaboard. Federal funds should not be distributed politically but rather distributed by need and damage,” read the letter.
“By any fair estimate, New York is the economic engine of the United States, a fact that should be recognized in any federal legislation intended to jumpstart the national economy, and no state was damaged to the extent that the federal government damaged New York.”
The letter states that New York was in dire need.
“If the MTA does not receive $4.5 billion this year, 9000 workers will be laid off, and subway and bus fares and tolls on crossings will increased beyond the level of inflation. If New York does not receive a minimum of $15 billion in aid, or if New York City does not receive a minimum of $9 billion in direct aid, then tax increases, layoffs of essential workers, and a significant borrowing will all be necessary. This is no time to be imposing more burdens on hard-working New York families, nor is this the time to lay off essential workers, moments before we undertake a complicated and labor-intensive vaccination program. We understand that you hope this initial package will fund states through next March at which time, a more substantial package will be passed. However, we will not make it to March without the necessary funding outlined above,” read the conclusion of the letter.