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American Rescue Plan Brought $1,400 Direct Payments To Thousands Of Hudson Valley Residents; Millions More Dollars Coming To Independent Live Venues And Restaurants, 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, Significantly Impacting Westchester’s 19,000+ and Rockland’s 20,000+ Children Living In Poverty  

Schumer: Lower Hudson Valley To Get Big Slice Of $100B Pie 

Standing at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that ‘help is on the way’ to the Lower Hudson Valley region as he detailed specifics from the American Rescue Plan he just led to passage in the U.S. Senate. Using the Capitol Theatre 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 recently announced that the Save Our Stages program will open to applications on April 8th after Schumer’s continued press to implement the program. SBA has 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 local 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 Lower Hudson Valley, not only makes sense, but it’s the curtain call needed to keep live music venues like Capitol Theatre going.”

“The American Rescue Plan finally provides relief at the scale this crisis demands, and central to this bill is the relief it provides to working families in Westchester and Rockland and across the country. This legislation is delivering survival checks to the American people, cutting child poverty in half through the expanded Child Tax Credit, and directing desperately-needed relief to our small businesses, restaurants, and performance venues – businesses like El Festejo in Port Chester, which received a PPP loan to help weather this crisis. I’m proud to have helped get this transformational bill passed into law, and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Schumer to deliver the help the people of Westchester and Rockland Counties need and deserve,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones.

“Senator Schumer heard us in Westchester County loud and clear and thanks to his leadership in Washington, help is on the way,” said County Executive Latimer. “As Majority Leader, the Senator made direct aid to Westchester workers, families, small businesses, and communities a top priority – affording us much needed flexibility for our hardworking residents. We thank President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Congressmen Jones, Bowman & Maloney for the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which will bring much-needed relief to our communities so they can recover and thrive when we emerge from the pandemic.”

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 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 Hudson Valley residents, on top of additional aid for 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 Hudson Valley’s budget woes, and 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, which is especially important for the more than 19,000 children in Westchester and the more than 20,000 children in Rockland living below the poverty line. 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. It is estimated that New York families will receive $7.03 billion in relief from the 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. It is estimated that New York families will receive over $786 million will receive in relief from the enhanced EITC.
  • Sends $22 billion in direct payments of $1,400 to over 9 million New York households. That includes approximately $1.5 billion in direct payments for more than an estimated 601,000 households in the Lower Hudson Valley. More than an estimated 449,000 households in Westchester County will receive approximately $1.1 billion and an estimated 152,000 households in Rockland County will receive approximately $378.5 million.

As part of the deal, more than $23.8 billion in state and local aid will be going to New York, with more than $910 million going directly to the Hudson Valley Region – including over $187.64 million for Westchester County, over $250 million for Westchester municipalities, over $63 million for Rockland County, and over $35 million for Rockland municipalities. Putnam county is estimated to receive $19.07 million. New York State government will receive over $12 billion, solving the state’s budget woes.

With more than 51% of Westchester and 58% of Rockland’s 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. Schumer secured $18 million for Westchester County, $4.7 million for the City of Yonkers, and $7.6 million for Rockland County in rental assistance in the American Rescue Plan.

Schumer was able to secure more than $7 Billion in transit funding for New York, with $8.9 million for Westchester Airport and $6.5 billion for the MTA and Metro-North.

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 Westchester and Rockland—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 Lower Hudson Valley residents still need real help to get through this.”