December 9, 2020
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo, Mayor De Blasio, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-cousins, Speaker Heastie and New York Labor Leaders Issue Letter Urging New York Congressional Delegation to Provide Stimulus Funding to Avoid Catastrophic Budget Cuts

TOP Governor Cuomo, Mayor De Blasio, Senate...

Funding in Proposed $908 Billion Package Must Fairly Compensate Hardest Hit States

 

New York State Most Impacted State and Needs At Least $15 Billion to Avoid Tax Increases and Layoffs of Essential Workers; New York City Needs at Least $9 Billion

 

Thousands of Workers May Face Layoffs if Federal Government Fails to Provide Resources

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York labor leaders today issued a letter urging New York State's Congressional delegation to provide enough funding in the next federal stimulus package to avoid catastrophic cuts to the city and state budgets. The letter highlights how New York State has been the hardest hit by COVID-19 and calls for funding in the next stimulus to be allocated based on the needs of each state. New York needs at least $15 billion to avoid tax increases and layoffs of essential workers. If the MTA does not receive at least $4.5 billion this year, thousands of workers will be laid off and fares will increase. New York City needs at least $9 billion.

 

The full text of the letter is below:

 

December 9, 2020

 

Dear Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Members of the New York State Congressional Delegation:

 

You are well aware of the desperate circumstances New York suffered at the outset of the COVID crisis and continues to endure today. We understand Congress is considering a short-term federal funding measure of approximately $908 billion in COVID-19 relief. As an interim measure, this proposal should address states' immediate and pressing needs, and it is essential and fair that New York receive at least a minimum amount of funding necessary to stop further massive damage.

 

It is important to remind your federal colleagues that New York paid a unique price for COVID. New York's damages were a direct result of federal negligence. Unlike almost any other state, the COVID crisis in New York was caused by the COVID virus coming from Europe. Scientists have definitively traced our COVID strain to European countries. The Trump Administration was either unaware or did not inform New York that the virus had traveled from China to Europe and was traveling to New York State.

 

The Trump Administration banned travel from China on February 1 but did not ban European travel until March 16. By that time, over 3 million Europeans had traveled to New York and had been spreading the virus for months prior to our notification. That explains the explosion of cases in New York State. These facts have been confirmed by Dr. Redfield and Dr. Fauci in testimony before Congress.

 

Federal aid in the $908 billion package must be proportionate to the damage incurred by states and consider the federal liability. New York has the highest number of deaths in the nation and has among the highest number of unemployed people in the nation because COVID came to New York before the Trump Administration even acknowledged COVID's presence on the eastern seaboard. Federal funds should not be distributed politically but rather distributed by need and damage. By any fair estimate, New York is the economic engine of the United States, a fact that should be recognized in any federal legislation intended to jumpstart the national economy, and no state was damaged to the extent that the federal government damaged New York.

 

New York's need is dire. If the MTA does not receive $4.5 billion this year, 9,000 workers will be laid off, and subway and bus fares and tolls on crossings will be increased beyond the level of inflation. If New York State does not receive a minimum of $15 billion in aid, or if New York City does not receive a minimum of $9 billion in direct aid, then tax increases, layoffs of essential workers, and significant borrowing will all be necessary. This is no time to be imposing more burdens on hard-working New York families, nor is this the time to lay off essential workers, moments before we undertake a complicated and labor-intensive vaccination program.

 

We understand that you hope this initial package will fund states through next March at which time a more substantial package will be passed. However, we will not make it to March without the necessary funding outlined above.

 

Sincerely,

                                                        

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo   

                       

Mayor Bill de Blasio

 

Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Temporary President and Majority Leader

New York State Senate

 

Carl Heastie

Speaker

New York State Assembly

 

Mario Cilento

President

New York State AFL-CIO

 

John Samuelsen

International President

Transport Workers Union of America

 

Anthony Utano

President

Transportation Workers Union of Greater New York Local 100

 

Gary LaBarbera

President

Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

 

Henry A. Garrido

Executive Director

District Council 37

 

Gregory Floyd

President

Teamsters Local 237

Vice President-At Large, International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Board

 

Michael Mulgrew

President

United Federation of Teachers

 

Wayne Spence

President

NYS Public Employees Federation

 

Mary E. Sullivan

President

CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME

 

Richard Maroko

President

New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council

 

Harry Nespoli

Chair

Municipal Labor Committee

 

Dennis Trainor

Vice President

Communications Workers of America District 1

 

Kyle Bragg

President

32BJ SEIU

 

Mark Cannizzaro

President

Council of School Supervisors & Administrators, New York City

 

George Gresham

President

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

 

Andrew Pallotta

President

New York State United Teachers

 

 
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