Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the U.S. Open Championship will be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck from September 14th to September 20th without fans. The USGA will put protocols in place to protect players and staff, including rigorous protocols for testing, cleaning, use of face coverings and social distancing.
AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Thank you very much. Thank everyone for joining us. I have with me Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, Robert Mujica, budget director, Jim Malatras, academic extraordinaire, and Gareth Rhodes, also generalist extraordinaire.
We have a special guest with us today who I would like to speak about and speak with at the beginning of the call. Then I'll go through the numbers for the day. We have a team on the ground in St. Petersburg, Florida today, and we're joined by Mayor Rick Kriseman. The team has been working with St. Petersburg over the past few days. We'll be setting up a testing site today. Working with St. Petersburg and we're sending down some necessary materials. We're sending down 7,500 test kits, 7,500 gowns, 11,000 pairs of gloves, 7,500 N95 masks, 124,000 surgical masks, 7,500 face shields, 1,250 gallons of our New York clean, special hand sanitizer. You try that hand sanitizer, mayor, your hands will never be the same, I can promise you that. But it will kill the COVID virus, and it'll give you a special tingling sensation.
Mayor, it's our pleasure to be of help. You know, I was, as you know, New York went through this first, and I asked, at one point, on one dark day, when I was doing the briefing, I asked Americans to volunteer to come help us. We were overwhelmed in the hospitals, and I asked for doctors and nurses who could come help New York. And 30,000 people volunteered, 30,000 doctors and nurses. And I'll tell you, it was one of the really powerful experiences of my life, actually. 30,000 doctors and nurses volunteer to come to New York, to go into an emergency room at the height of this frightening COVID pandemic. I was so shocked at just the generosity, the courage, the love that people showed. I said at that time, I can't express the gratitude, I said and, we will be there for you. It was really America at its best, you know, it was that neighborliness, that barn-raising spirit, I help you, you help me, I'm your neighbor, you're my neighbor.
I had seen it after 9/11, where people from all across the country came to New York to be supportive. But I tell you, I was really personally touched, and I said on behalf of all New Yorkers, whatever anyone needs, we will be there. And I spoke for all New Yorkers when I said that and they have reinforced that and I want to honor it. And we've been doing that. We know what you're going through. We've been watching the numbers. We've been watching the news. We're sorry that you have to go through it. You're in our thoughts and our prayers.
I want to personally applaud you, mayor. You were right early on. You were right on the stay-at-home order. You were right on the intelligence of wearing masks. Literally if we had followed your advice in those calls, this nation would be in a difference place. I was saying basically the same thing in New York that you've been saying in St. Petersburg. The stay-at-home order works, the masks work, we should have taken this seriously sooner. I also agree with you on the young people. That's where we're seeing the increase in the numbers. We're struggling with it here in New York with bars and restaurants. But I applaud your leadership, I know it's hard to speak, especially when you're the first one uttering the thoughts, and these are not popular thoughts, you know. Nobody wants to stay home, nobody wants to have to wear a mask. But it's a test of leadership, and it's also a period in history where you really see what people are made of, you know. When the pressure is on, that's when the character comes to life, and we've seen a lot of character and we've seen people who were under pressure and they didn't stand up frankly but you did stand up and you were right and you've been doing a great job in St. Petersburg before this.
I was the former HUD Secretary so I had a lot of experience working with mayors all across the country and I know a good mayor when I see one and you are a good mayor so it's our pleasure to be helpful.
The testing site, I spoke with them this morning. They said that's going well today. I'm sure you need the supplies. Anything else you need we're here but in the meantime just keep going. We're together. We're Americans. We're your neighbors to the north. We obviously have a lot of New Yorkers who go down to Florida and I grew up in Queens. Everyone moved to Florida when they were finished in New York so there's a lot of commonality and we're with you in spirit and we're with you as a neighbor. Anything you need we're here. You stand strong but thank you for joining us this morning, mayor.
Mayor Kriseman: Well, thank you, Governor, and first off, thank you for the very kind comments. I do remember when you made some of the comments about wanting to provide assistance and I've been in elected office now for almost 20 years and I know politicians oftentimes will say a lot of things and make a lot of promises but you, sir, you follow through and you did exactly what you said you were going to do and that's not something that a lot of politicians unfortunately do and I agree with you it is a test to leadership and again, Governor, you and your team, the leadership that you have provided, the assistance that you've given us and the donations but equally important how you've communicated. We're not getting good, clear concise, factually-based communications from Washington, a lot of state capitols it's not coming from, but we've gotten it from you. Your residents have, really the entire country, I think has really benefitted from how clear and concise and just accurate you've been in everything that you said and commanding and I certainly appreciate it. It helps me as a mayor do my job when the message that's being put out is clear.
In St. Petersburg and the county that we're in in Pinellas we've tried to be leaders. We were the first to take, among one of the first, to take actions related to a safer at-home initiative, mask mandates, and I think it's really helped get our numbers on track to really start reducing the positivity rate. Our county in Pinellas is one of the most densely populated in the state of Florida and yet we're the largest county over the past several days, the past week, that has a positivity rate that is now under 7 percent and it's because mask orders work and you, sir, you showed us that. You showed it in New York and we're following it here and we wish all of Florida quite frankly would have a mask mandate. I think our state would be doing better but I got to thank you again for the support.
I agree widespread testing is key. Our hospitals have been overstressed and so the PPE that you're sending us, the supplies you're sending us, is really critical and I'd like to give the press a really clear example of the impact that you and the State of New York are having on us here in St. Pete. We are the home of Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital which is the only Hopkins facility outside Baltimore and it's here in St. Pete and they're taking care of kids that are suffering with COVID-19 and they emailed us and said if they could have more iPads that could help them meet the increased request for virtual appointments and therapies and you all delivered and you've made that request a possibility and a reality and it's going to impact the kinds and our community and the families of these kids and so again I can't thank you enough - and then the testing site.
It is in a neighborhood where we have disproportionately impacted zip codes, a couple of zip codes where we are seeing our highest levels of positive testing and they are the neighborhoods of our largest minority population and so for us to be able to do testing there and be able to get the data related to that test really will help us in trying to address and target what steps we need to take to try and reduce the positivity in those zip codes too. So, again, on behalf of the entire community and the 270,000 residents of this great city I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you very much, Mayor, very kind of you. I appreciate it. I truly do. And I agree with everything you said. On the testing in those hotspot zip codes, that's very important, you know, and SOMOS Community Care is working with us up here and we brought them down there and they're the ones setting up the testing site. You're also right that at the end of the day leadership mattered here, you know? Government has been sleepy for a lot of years in many ways. You didn't really need government to step up on a critical mission, this is a critical mission. And you said you've been in public service 20 years, experience shows, character shows and yours did, my friend. Anything you need, we are here. Thank you for your kind words. It's unfortunate that we're in this situation, you know, I thought that New York went first because we had the virus that came from Europe, nobody realized it, everybody was talking about China. The virus left China before any of these geniuses knew it, it went to Europe and then it came to New York from Europe, literally on the plane that's where the flights landed. So we got hit very hard, we were ambushed. But, we would have liked to think that we would have learned the lessons as New York was going through it and that we knew what the future was and we handled it differently. We didn't do that. But you stood up, you led and I'm proud to call you a friend. Anything you need, we are here, we are here. So thank you, Mayor. Thank you very much.
Mayor Kriseman: Thank you so much, Governor.
Governor Cuomo: Okay, let me give you some more information then we'll take questions. Today is day 151. New York conducted 62,276 tests yesterday. Infection rate of 1.1 percent, so that's all good news. Five New Yorkers passed away, they're in our thoughts and prayers. 619 New Yorkers hospitalized, that's the lowest number since March 18th, that's more good news. 76 COVID patients intubated yesterday, lowest number since March 15th, that's more good news. So all the news on the numbers and our status is all very good. As we said, the whole goal now is to protect our progress and we're doing very well and we just want to make sure we continue to do well even though the sea around us is roiled.
Two issues we've been focused on - the national increase rate and the inevitability that people will get on planes and come here, as we learned when people came from Europe, and the compliance issue. Local governments need to do their jobs, the state is supplementing and helping any way we can. Yesterday the SLA did 29 violations on bars, restaurants that were not following the law - two in the Bronx, seven in Brooklyn, 11 in Manhattan, five in Queens, three in Staten Island, one in Suffolk - and that was a total of 29. So, follow the law, it's always good advice. We're looking at issues on Long Island and concerning the concert that happened there, this so-called Chainsmokers Concert. Some other issues have come to light because of that and we're focusing on those on Long Island, Southampton especially.
U.S. Open for golf, 2020 U.S. Open will take place at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, September 24th to 20th. That is a great event, it's a national event. The championship will be help without fans and the championship organizers are working with the State Department of Health to ensure health and safety of all the golfers and staff. But, that's going to happen, 2020 U.S. Open at the Winged Foot Golf Club. And people will get to enjoy that. It's not onsite, you'll be able to watch it on TV.
The question was asked about drivers education by a great reporter from NY1 who was inquiring on behalf of his daughters, I believe. As we're getting the state agencies back up and running again, beginning today, the Department of Motor Vehicles will allow driving schools to begin conducting distance learning for pre-licensing courses and they'll use Zoom and WebEx and Skype and whatever technology that they deem appropriate. We understand that student drivers can't appear in person and this will allow them to participate online so they can get their driver's license and they can do it safely.
I'm sending a letter to the Congressional delegation today that you have a copy of, or you should have a copy of or you will have a copy of shortly. I want to be very clear on what this federal bill means to New York. The way we did the budget this year, the state budget, is we basically had a big hole financially and then we had a hole in terms of what the revenue would be. Because the revenues, in large part, are going to be the revenues that are provided by this federal bill. There have been several attempts at this federal legislation, none of them have adequately served the State of New York and they, frankly, have been politically motivated and they've shorted the State of New York.
This is last bill that they'll probably get done and this is going to be the determinative bill. I did a letter to the Congressional delegation just so everyone understands exactly where we are because this one counts. I said this is probably the most important and impactful federal piece of legislation since I've been serving as Governor. The state has about a $14 billion hole this year. It has a $16 billion hole next fiscal year, 2022 - fourteen and sixteen.
The bill they're talking about in Washington is a two-year bill, so you put the 14 and the 16 together for $30 billion on a 2-year bill. To the extent we do not receive $30 billion over 2 years, we would have to cut 20 percent from our main funding entities: schools, local governments, hospitals. Caveat: The federal bill, as proposed by the Senate, currently says you would have to fully fund education even if they don't fully fund the states shortfall. We have a $14-16, $30 billion shortfall over 2 years. They provide funding for education and say you have to fully fund education even if they don't fund the state, in this case, $30 billion.
If that is the situation, it'd be good news for education if we fully fund the schools but then it would mean that the hospitals and the local governments take an even greater cut. So that's an added complication in this bill. Besides the 20 percent reduction, the MTA has a $12 billion deficit. They have said that they will provide funding for the MTA. If the MTA doesn't receive $12 billion, they're going to have to find the money elsewhere. They'll have to cut services, they'll have to reduce staff and also probably have to raise tolls and fares.
The Port Authority has a $3 billion loss. The Port Authority is funded by a surcharge on travel related activities. That has dropped off dramatically. They have a $3 billion shortfall. If the Port Authority does not receive the $3 billion shortfall it decimates their capital budget which could require a stoppage or significant slowdown in the JFK airport reconstruction. LaGuardia is under way as you know, but the loss to the capital budget would be dramatic for the port authority. So, these are real life consequences.
The House submitted a bill and in the House bill, the quote-unquote HEROES Act, they repeal SALT. That is of major import to the State of New York. SALT was a theft as you know. It was $15 billion a year from New Yorkers. For New Yorkers who are impacted, it is about $8,700 per household - $8,700 per household every year. I have been fighting SALT from day one. It was outrageous by the federal government. Same way I was fighting the abolition of the Trusted Traveler Program by the Department of Homeland Security. I said that was politically motivated. We have been fighting that, we were right, and we won. We are also right on SALT and the House repeals SALT. Thank you very much, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and to all our congressional representatives. I have said publicly that if the Senate does not repeal SALT, I urge Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand not to support the bill. We have had this conversation for years and it is always tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. There are not more tomorrows. So, this is vitally important.
So, on this bill, it will basically determine the State budget and you will know what the State budget is when this bill passes. $14 billion deficit this year, $16 billion deficit next year causes a 20 percent cut. To the extent they restore the 14 and the 16 that will determine the percentage of the cut. The MTA needs $12 billion. The Port Authority needs $3 billion if we want to continue with the construction. The MTA needs $12 billion if we don't want to raise fares and tolls. New Yorkers have been paying $8,700 more a year for those households affected by SALT. If they don't repeal SALT that is an additional $8,700 in property taxes. This could not be clearer. Those are the numbers. I am sending a letter to all of the congressional members and to the senators. The NGA which is a bipartisan organization repeats the call today for $500 billion in state and local funding and that is where we are. Senator Schumer has the ball for us on the Senate side, head of the minority caucus also Senator for New York, and Congresswoman Nita Lowey on the Appropriations Committee, who has been a long-time friend and a great congressperson for the State, and she is carrying the ball for us there. So, we have been working with their offices. They have all of the information. But we are right down to it now and those are the numbers and those are the consequences, and I just want to make sure everybody knows exactly what will happen. Whatever that bill is that is what this year's budget is.