IN FIRST VISIT AS MAJORITY LEADER, SCHUMER DELIVERS MASSIVE COVID RESCUE RELIEF TO SOUTHERN TIER; WITH CHECKS HITTING BANK ACCOUNTS, MILLIONS MORE COMING TO ITHACA’S FAMILIES, WORKERS, LIVE VENUES & SMALL BUSINESSES, SENATOR OUTLINES SOUTHERN TIER WINS
American Rescue Passage Brought Swift Deposits Of $1,400 Direct Payments for Thousands Of Southern Tier Residents; Millions More Dollars Coming To Restaurants and Independent Live Venues, Schools, State & Local Aid, Rental Assistance, Pension Relief, And Historic Child Tax Credit Expansion
Deal Is On Top Of $150+ Billion Schumer Already Delivered To NY Earlier In Pandemic Relief Legislation; Researchers Say Rescue Deal Will Also Cut Child Poverty In Half
Schumer: ST To Get Big Slice Of $100B Pie
Standing at Cinemapolis in downtown Ithaca, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that ‘help is on the way’ to the Southern Tier as he detailed specifics from the American Rescue Plan he just led to passage in the U.S. Senate. Using Cinemapolis as a backdrop, Schumer explained that even more for New York’s live independent venues which are eligible for their own, DIRECT, federal pandemic relief, thanks to a provision he championed.
The Save Our Stages provision included an additional $1.25 billion for independent live venues, performing arts organizations, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions and included a critical fix that allows venues to access a PPP loan and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, deducting the PPP loan amount from the grant amount. Schumer said the additional funding and technical fix would be a lifeline for New York’s independent venues, hard-hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, a venue had to choose between getting a PPP loan or a Save Our Stages grant.
Just last week, SBA announced that the Save Our Stages program will open to applications on April 8th after Schumer’s continued press to implement the program. SBA also released an updated PPP application that now allows venues to apply for a PPP loan as well as a Save Our Stages grant, as Schumer intended with the fix included in the recent COVID bill.
“Independent venues, like theaters, concert halls, and cinemas, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force in the Upstate economy. These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to fully reopen, costing jobs and leaving a giant hole in the fabric of our communities,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I made sure this relief bill included a swan song – additional reliefs dollars to boost the Save Our Stages legislation and a critical technical fix to allow venues to access PPP and flexible grant support. Getting federal dollars into the hands of struggling small businesses, like independent venues in the Southern Tier, not only makes sense, but it’s the curtain call needed to keep small businesses like Cinemapolis and the Hangar Theatre going and keeping their workers on the job.”
Schumer said that live venues remain one of the hardest hit industries as the state carefully reopens, and dedicated assistance from the American Rescue Plan will save many venues from permanently shutting their doors to the public. It is estimated that by the end of 2020 live venues across the country lost $9 billion in ticket sales alone. The senator said the federal assistance was imperative because independent venues not only drive economic activity within communities through restaurants, hotels, taxis and other transportation and retail establishments, but live events provide 75% of all artists’ income.
The December package included $15 billion to create the Save Our Stages program after Schumer’s tireless efforts to pass it into law. The program, which will be overseen by the Small Business Administration, provide assistance to independent live venue operators, promoters, producers, talent representatives, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. Grant amounts equal to 45% of gross revenue in 2019 for the venue, up to $10 million, can be used for various costs, including payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage obligations, payments to contractors, regular maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, operating leases, PPE procurement, and capital expenditures related to meeting state, local, or federal social distancing guidelines. To ensure the hardest hit of eligible applicants receive assistance, there are two priority application periods. The first 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 90% of gross revenue can apply. The next 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 70% can apply. A reserve of 20% of overall appropriated funds, $3 billion out of the $15 billion provided, will remain available for all other eligible entities to apply for after 28 days. There is a $2 billion set-aside of funds for eligible entities with 50 or fewer employees to ensure smaller applicants are not left out.
Additionally, Schumer detailed the American Rescue Plan’s tentative impact to New York as more than $100 Billion dollars. The deal includes the additional round of direct stimulus checks for tens of thousands of Southern Tier residents, on top of aid to help schools safely reopen, vaccine distribution, critical pension relief, an expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, new rental assistance, agriculture and nutrition assistance, direct local fiscal relief to revive the local economy and help solve the Southern Tier’s budget woes, a dedicated relief fund for the struggling restaurant industry, all of which adds up to essential relief for countless families, workers, restaurants, more independent live venues and small businesses across the state.
Schumer also highlighted that researchers have said that the American Rescue Plan will cut the child poverty rate in half. This plan:
- Makes the Child Tax Credit (CTC) fully refundable and increases the credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6). An estimated 3.56 million children across New York will benefit from this expanded tax credit, and it will lift 680,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line. New York families to receive $7.03 billion from enhanced CTC.
- Strengthens the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers, many of whom are in lower-paid but essential jobs on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, benefitting 910,000 of these workers in New York. New York families to receive over $786 million from enhanced ETIC
- Sends $22 billion in direct payments of $1,400 to over 9 million New York households. That includes approximately $842 million in direct payments for nearly 338,000 households in the Southern Tier. An estimated 47,000 households in Tompkins County will receive approximately $117 million, an estimated 38,000 households in Chemung County will receive approximately $95 million, an estimated 22,000 households in Tioga County will receive $55 million, and an estimated 87,000 households in Broome County will receive $218 million.
As part of the deal, more than $23.8 billion with more than $334 million going to the Southern Tier – including $17.02 million for the city of Ithaca and over $19.82 million for Tompkins County. Other Southern Tier counties like Broome County are estimated to receive nearly $36.94 million and Chemung County at $16.19 million. New York State government will receive over $12 billion, solving the state’s budget woes.
With 57% of Tompkins County rental units currently occupied by tenants spending more than 30% of their income on housing, Schumer explained that rental assistance, included in the American Rescue Plan, is also a necessary tool of fighting poverty.
The American Rescue Plan also includes $9 Billion for New York’s K-12 Schools – these flexible funds will support school districts in reopening safely for in-person instruction and addressing the many needs that students are facing due to the pandemic. Southern Tier school districts will receive $227,876,000 in total in K-12 support funds.
New York’s Colleges and Universities will also receive $2.6B from the American Rescue Plan, half of which must be distributed to students in the form of financial aid awards to address hardships caused by COVID-19. Southern Tier colleges will receive $161,998,000 in total.
Schumer was able to secure more than $7 Billion in transit funding for New York, with $11.6 million going towards the Southern Tier’s transit agencies and $5,891,093 for Southern Tier airports.
The legislation also delivers critical relief for suffering multiemployer pension plans – which have experienced significant additional challenges as a result of this economic crisis – without cutting benefits retirees have earned. In New York State alone, there are more than 1.3 million participants in multiemployer pension plans, and around 624,600 New Yorkers are participants in plans that are expected to receive relief directly through this legislation.
“As Majority Leader, I fought hard to ensure this deal sent real relief to the tune of $100 billion to New York for workers, families, farmers, healthcare, small businesses, including our hard-hit industries like restaurants, and communities in Ithaca—the things we need to support in order to weather this crisis and then work to recover,” added Schumer added. “This marks the second biggest stimulus bill in the nation’s history—second to the CARES Act—and it comes just in time, because Southern Tier residents still need real help to get through this.”