Cuomo says NY can’t solve massive budget shortfalls without federal aid
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday again called on the federal government to provide a lifeline of financial aid to states and local governments that have seen costs rise and revenues plummet due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have tremendous losses because of Covid,” Cuomo said. “We’re not liable for them. I’m not accepting liability. I’m not accepting the premise that New York State or New York City should pay. We didn’t do anything wrong. The federal government should pay. The federal government was wrong. It’s the federal government that allowed us to be ambushed by Covid.”
Cuomo said New York was hit early in the pandemic without notice. Other states, where Covid followed, had time to prepare and learn from NY’s response.
The state closed down and restricted businesses and activities to slow the spread of Covid. The governor said that has worked, but the state has paid a deep economic price. He estimated a $50 billion budget shortfall, a looming of $30 billion for state, $12 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and $9 billion in New York City.
“How is New York City, New York State going to solve the deficit?” Cuomo said Tuesday at a news conference. “We’re not. It’s Donald Trump’s deficit. He has to fix it.”
The governor said he continues to press Congress for a relief package for state and local governments.
If the federal government doesn’t come through with assistance, Cuomo said states and local governments will have to raise taxes and likely borrow money to get through the fiscal crisis. If taxes go up that would make an economic recovery more difficult, he said.
Cuomo is chairman of the National Governors Association and Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas, is the vice chairman. They issued a statement on Tuesday, urging federal relief for states and local government.
“Every major economist, regardless of party or ideological bent, came to the same conclusion after the 2007-09 financial crisis: The lack of support for state and local governments slowed the nation’s economic growth for more than a decade,” Cuomo and Hutchinson said. “As we begin to recover and rebuild from the Covid-19 crisis, we can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of the past – we know now that there can be no national recovery if state and local governments aren’t solvent.
“We appreciate the House of Representatives for putting forth a new proposed relief package last night. It’s our hope that the latest proposal will reenergize the negotiations. Ultimately, we hope for a relief package that will support the needs of the American people, including health care workers, firefighters, police officers and teachers, and we urge the Senate and the White House to meet them at the negotiating table. This is a national problem, and it demands a bipartisan and national solution.”