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Congressmen Join NYS Counties in Calling for Direct Aid to Local Governments

Congressional Representatives Tom Reed and Tom Suozzi Join NYSAC's Stephen Acquario to Discuss Federal Actions to Support NY Counties as They Lead the Local Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
 

Today, Congressional Members Tom Reed and Tom Suozzi joined NYSAC's weekly digital press conference to discuss federal efforts to provide direct financial support to local governments as they lead the response to COVID-19 and the reopening of their communities.

Watch the video on our YouTube channel here. A downloadable video file can be found here.
 
NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said, “From day one, New York's counties have been working to stop the spread of the virus with testing, tracing and quarantine monitoring; while providing services like food assistance and childcare for families impacted by the crisis. Now, with resources stretched thin, counties have once again been called upon to step up and implement the reopening of our state. We need our federal partners to provide direct assistance to local governments so that we can continue this vital work and avoid wide-ranging program cuts, service interruptions, and layoffs at a time when we are restarting our economies and continuing to battle the spread of the disease.”
 
Rep. Tom Reed (R- Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, Western NY) said, “Counties across the country are bearing the brunt of COVID's economic devastation while their firefighters, police officers, first responders, and other essential workers continue to provide their neighbors with critical services. We believe the federal government must step up to ensure localities are fully supported during this crisis by passing bipartisan legislation like the SMART Act, which will provide direct aid to our local governments. As a former mayor, we thank NYSAC for its ongoing commitment to making sure the challenges facing local governments are well understood. It is only fair that we continue to do our part and work with the administration and congressional leaders to secure the economic assistance counties deserve.” 

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D- Long Island, Queens) said, “New York is the epicenter of this Pandemic and, as a former County Executive, I understand the pressures our local counties are under as they try and address local concerns while facing declining revenues. That is why my first priority is to deliver more federal dollars to New York, including through a special fund which will be distributed based upon rate of infection and not irrelevant funding formulas used by the federal government, which have proved to be insufficient in the face of this global pandemic.”

Over the last few months, NYSAC has continued to advocate for direct federal aid to local to help offset the economic impact of the novel coronavirus on New York's counties. A report released by NYSAC projects potentially catastrophic drops in revenue between $2 billion to $3.6 billion over the next year – projections that have been borne out by county sales tax data that show county sales tax collections for April down 26 percent compared to the same period last year.

This economic scenario leaves counties vulnerable to a quadruple threat of:
  1. Declining local revenues, especially sales tax, but also hotel occupancy taxes, mortgage recording taxes, gaming revenues, among other revenues;
  2. Higher county spending necessary to respond to the health emergency, social service demands, and the State's requirements for reopening;
  3. The loss of state reimbursement; and
  4. The potential of significant losses for small businesses on our main streets that could threaten jobs and the property tax base over the short to mid-term.
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Media Contact: Mark LaVigne | MLavigne@nysac.org | 518-465-1473 x206

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