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Labor leaders join Cuomo in seeking federal funding for states, local government

Staff Reports Posted 1 September 2020 at 8:52 am

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and prominent New York labor leaders on Monday called on Congress to provide $59 billion to address catastrophic budget shortfalls that impact the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of workers in the state.

The governor and labor leaders sent a letter to federal representatives enumerating the critical infrastructure projects that would be impacted without federal funding and the hospitals, schools and institutions that would be supported by it. New York State, New York City and other local governments face huge shortfalls due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor and labor leaders also called on Congress to repeal the tax change that eliminated the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT).

New York State requires $30 billion during the current fiscal year and next to avoid massive disruption. New York City requires $9 billion, local governments outside of New York City require $4.5 billion, the MTA requires $12 billion, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey requires $3 billion.

The letter was signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Mario Cilento, George Gresham, Gary LaBarbera, John Samuelsen, Michael Mulgrew, Andrew Pallotta, Henry Garrido, Wayne Spence and Mary Sullivan.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, New York State is in an impossible financial situation,” they write in the letter. “There is no combination of state efforts that will address this financial crisis without federal assistance. Even if state and local governments cut expenses, increase taxes, and reduced services, the revenue shortfall would still be in the billions of dollars. Moreover, forcing state and local governments to take such actions would only further the pain and extend the period of time for the nation’s economy to recover.

“Virtually all economists agree that forcing state and local governments to lay off employees and reduce services will negatively impact the national recovery. We saw that with the last fiscal crisis in 2007-2009, and we know that it will play out again.”

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