IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AS MAJORITY LEADER, SCHUMER DELIVERS MASSIVE COVID RESCUE RELIEF TO WESTERN NEW YORK; WITH CHECKS ON THE WAY, MILLIONS COMING TO WNY FAMILIES, WORKERS, RESTAURANTS & SMALL BUSINESSES, SENATOR OUTLINES WESTERN NY WINS
American Rescue Passage Means Help Is On The Way With $1,400 Direct Payments for Tens of Thousands Of Western New Yorkers, Nearly $900 Million In 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 In Earlier Pandemic Relief Legislation; Researchers Say Rescue Deal Will Also Cut Child Poverty In Half, Significant Impacting Buffalo’s Estimated 25,000 Children Living In Poverty
Schumer: WNY To Get A Big Slice of $100B Pie
Standing at Manna at Northland, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that ‘help is on the way’ to Western New York as he detailed specifics from the American Rescue Plan he just led to passage in the U.S. Senate. Using Manna as a backdrop, Schumer explained that New York restaurants are now eligible for their own, DIRECT, federal pandemic relief, thanks to a provision he championed. The new restaurant relief fund, modeled on the widely supported, bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act, will provide a down-payment of $28.6 billion in flexible grants through the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a lifeline for New York’s restaurant industry, one of the hardest hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“With 27% of New York’s restaurants saying they will not survive the next 3 months, Western New York restaurants, their employees and the overall regional economy still need immediate federal relief to weather COVID because too many of the places we know and love could close without the help, leaving a giant hole in our local economy,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I made sure this relief bill included a vital ingredient – a restaurants relief fund based on the RESTAURANTS Act– to get our restaurants ‘cooking’ again. Getting federal dollars into the hands of struggling small businesses, like restaurants in Western New York, not only makes sense, but it’s the recipe needed to keep small businesses like Manna at Northland going and keeping their workers on the job.”
Schumer explained that food service or drinking establishments, including caterers, brewpubs, taprooms, and tasting rooms, that are not part of an affiliated group with more than 20 locations will be eligible. To provide comprehensive support to local restaurants, grants from the fund could be used alongside first and second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
Schumer’s new restaurants relief fund provides flexible grants of up to $10 million per restaurant group, $5 million per individual restaurant, that can be used to cover payroll, mortgages or rent, setup for outdoor seating, PPE, paid leave, food and other supplies, or debt and other expenses. Grants can be spent on eligible expenses from 2/15/20 through 12/31/21 and the SBA Administrator may extend the period through two years from enactment if conditions warrant. $5 billion of the $28.6 billion total is reserved for restaurants with less than $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019 for the first 60 days of the program. During the initial 21-day period, the administrator will prioritize awarding grants to eligible entities that are owned or controlled by women or Veterans or are socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.
Schumer detailed the American Rescue Plan’s tentative impact to New York as more than $100 Billion dollars. Researchers say the Plan will cut child poverty in half, which is especially significant for Buffalo as it struggles with one of the nation’s highest poverty rates. The deal includes the additional round of direct stimulus checks for thousands of Western New Yorkers, on top of aid to help schools safely reopen, an extension of the enhanced unemployment insurance benefits, critical pension relief, an expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, new rental assistance, revive the local economy and help solve Central New York’s budget woes, marking a not-too-soon moment of relief for countless families, workers, restaurants, more independent live venues and small businesses across the state.
“As Majority Leader, I fought hard to ensure the deal we fought so hard for sent real relief to the tune of $100 billion to New York for workers, families, healthcare, small businesses, including our hard-hit industries like restaurants, and communities throughout Western New York—the things we need to support in order to weather this crisis and then work to recover,” added Schumer. “This marks the second biggest stimulus bill in the nation’s history—second to the CARES Act—and it comes just in time, because Western New Yorkers still need real help to get through this.”
Schumer also highlighted that researchers have said that the American Rescue Plan will cut the child poverty rate in half, greatly impacting Western New York, which has the second highest rate of child poverty in the nation. This plan:
- Makes the 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.
- Strengthens the 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.
With 74% of Erie County rental units currently occupied by tenants spending more than 30% of their income on housing, Schumer explained that rental assistance is also a necessary tool of fighting poverty.
As part of the deal, more than $23.8 billion will flow directly to New York state government(s) with more than $873 Million going to Western New York – including $350 million for the city of Buffalo and over $258 million for Chautauqua, Erie, Cattaraugus, and Niagara Counties – in addition to increasing education funding, transit funding and highways, vaccine distribution, COVID health funding, emergency rental and housing assistance and more.
Schumer was able to secure more than $7 Billion in transit funding, with $79.4 million going directly to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and over $20 million for Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
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.
The impact on New York appear in the breakdown below. These numbers are tentative.
Funds for New York
- State and Local Fiscal Relief for New York: $23.8 Billion
- Medicaid FMAP Increase: $2.7 Billion($2.1 billion already delivered from Schumer pushing President Biden to extend through the end of the calendar year, in addition to approximately 600 million from a targeted enhanced FMAP for home and community-based services from this legislation)
- Transit Agency Funding: $7+ Billion
- Airport Funding: $418 Million
- Amtrak Relief: $1.7 Billion (Relief for Amtrak to help maintain operations and other expenditures during the pandemic, especially in New York.)
- Airline Payroll Support Program Enhancement: $15 Billion (The CARES Act Airline Payroll Support Program which will save thousands of New York airline and airline contractor jobs by keeping workers on payroll without furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until March 31, 2021 New York will receive sizable share of these funds.)
- K-12 and Higher Education Funding: $11.9 Billion
- Child Care and Help for NY Families: $5.3 Billion
- Enhanced Unemployment Benefits for NYers: $21.7 Billion
- Direct Payments to NYers: $22 Billion
- New Covid-19 Vaccine Procurement and Testing: $4 Billion
Funds Available to Businesses Across New York:
- Small Business, Restaurant, and Live Venue Relief: $57.8 Billion
- Broadband Connectivity: $632 Million
EDUCATION – K-12 SCHOOLS & INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER ED
- $9 Billion: 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. A portion of the funds are targeted towards addressing learning loss, providing resources through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and implementing summer enrichment and afterschool programs.
- $2.6 Billion: Colleges and Universities – Institutions must distribute half of their allocation to students in the form of financial aid awards to address hardships caused by COVID-19. The remaining portion of the funds can be used on reopening costs, revenue losses, classroom retrofits, PPE, and other expenses.
- $257 Million: Private K-12 schools – these funds are administered by the state educational agency to provide public health and related assistance and services to private K-12 schools.
CHILD CARE & HELP FOR NY FAMILIES
- $1.8 Billion: Child Care – Through the Child Care Stabilization Fund and the Child Care Community Development Block Grants (CCDBG), these funds ensure that the child care sector will continue to assist working families, and to support child care providers in meeting their increased operation costs during the pandemic.
- $59 Million: Head Start – this is emergency funding that will continue to provide access of services for children and their families.
- $7.03 Billion: Child Tax Credit payment to New York families
- $786 Million: Earned Income Tax Credit payment to New York families
- More than $1 Billion in additional Emergency Rental Assistance and assistance for preventing homelessness
- $575 Million in mortgage and utility assistance for homeowners
- $1.07 Billion: Nutrition Assistance ($810 million for Pandemic EBT Benefits, $227 million for SNAP)
UI AND DIRECT CHECKS TO NEW YORKERS
- An estimated $21.7 Billion for NY in Enhanced Unemployment Insurance Benefits: This bill provides billions in additional federal relief for struggling New Yorkers – who are out of work through no fault of their own – by extending the historic unemployment insurance reforms established in the CARES Act, through September 6, 2021. Importantly, it continues the critical lifeline of the enhanced unemployment assistance, providing an additional $300 per week on top of all state and federal unemployment benefits. The bill extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for the self-employed, gig workers, freelancers and others in non-traditional employment, as well as the additional weeks of federal unemployment insurance for workers who exhaust their regular state benefits. Notably, this legislation excludes up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 from taxable income, providing much-needed tax relief for workers making less than $150,000.
- Over $22 Billion in Direct Payments for NY (Approximately $1.535 billion in direct payments for an estimated 615,700 households in Western New York): The American Rescue Plan includes an additional round of Economic Impact Payments of $1,400 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $2,800 for couples making up to $150,000 per year. Eligible families will also receive an additional $1,400 payment per child and adult dependent, amounting to $5,600 for an average family of four. Nearly 9 million New York households will receive another round of direct payments, helping them to cover essential expenses like food, rent or mortgages, and medical bills during this crisis.