County leaders in NY again push for federal aid for local governments
Press Release, New York State Association of Counties
The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) on Wednesday called on the new Congress to pass a Coronavirus Stimulus Package that provides federal aid to state and local aid governments.
NYSAC’s call follows Tuesday’s announcement by incoming Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand supporting legislation that will assist New York State and its local governments.
The bi-partisan Direct Support for Communities Act provides local governments with direct federal relief that can be used to pay for essential services, retain frontline workers, and offset lost revenues and increased costs from the Covid-19 emergency.
Since March of last year, counties across New York have seen their revenues plummet by an estimated $1.5 billion. Sales tax losses could reach $325 million for counties through 2021, state revenue cuts represent a $645 million loss, potentially increase to $965 million through 2021, and Native American gaming revenues and hotel occupancy taxes amount to almost $220 million in losses for counties through 2021.
“For nearly 10 months, local governments have deployed every tool at their disposal to protect New Yorkers and provide the essential services as an economic crisis devastated local revenues. But time is running out,” said NYSAC President and Ontario County Board Chair Jack Marren. “Counties applaud the continued leadership of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the NY House delegation on fighting for direct aid, and they should pass a bill within the first 100 days of the new administration. Our local governments need help to end this pandemic and get life back to normal.”
“This bill provides the direct, flexible and unrestricted aid counties need to make up for the unprecedented revenue shortfalls brought on by the pandemic,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “Without this direct aid, counties will be hamstrung to do the essential work necessary to end the pandemic, including setting up Covid-19 vaccination sites, providing contact tracing and testing, and delivering essential services to children, families and seniors who have been struggling during the pandemic.”