WITH MILLIONS ON THE LINE, SCHUMER CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE FISCAL RELIEF FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS THROUGHOUT THE CAPITAL REGION THAT PROJECT CRIPPLING REVENUE AND JOB LOSSES AMID ONGOING COVID-19 FIGHT
As Local Governments Face Uncertain Budgets Amid Crises, City Of Schenectady Estimates $12M In Lost Revenue, Schenectady County, $16M ; City Of Albany Estimates $19M In Lost Revenue, Albany County, $30M; City of Troy Estimates $9.5M In Lost Revenue, Rensselaer County Up To $20M
Standing With Local Leaders, Schumer Says The Capital Region’s Municipalities Heroically Ratcheted Up Spending To Fight COVID-19, Despite Budgetary Consequences, To Help Keep Essential Services Running Throughout The Region, Yet Congress Refuses To Lend A Hand In Recovery and Rebuilding
Schumer: Capital Region Communities Stepped Up To Fight The Pandemic On The Frontlines, They Shouldn’t Now Have To Fight To Stay Afloat
Standing in Schenectady City Hall with Mayor Gary McCarthy and County Legislator Phillip Fields, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer renewed his push for immediate, direct federal aid for state and local governments. Schumer explained that as communities reopen and seek to recover from the devastating financial impacts of the height of the COVID-19 crisis in New York, state and local governments, which heroically ratcheted up spending during the crisis to continue providing essential support for New Yorkers throughout the crisis, need federal relief that can be used to pay for essential services, offset lost revenues and increased costs, and aid in economic recovery.
“Our state, county, and local governments heroically ratcheted up their spending to confront the COVID challenge, even when the virus ripped a hole in their budgets due to collapsing revenue,” said Senator Schumer. “Senate Republicans must join our push to act swiftly and decisively to provide a shot-in-the-arm of financial resources so state, county, and local governments can save tens of thousands of jobs, continue to offer essential services for their communities, and provide the assistance necessary to revive the economy. ”
The senator explained that with municipal governments across the state and in the Capital Region facing budgetary crises and forced to consider layoffs of tens of thousands of public health care workers, firefighters and EMS workers, police, sanitation workers, teachers, and other vital staff, additional aid for state and local governments is vital to community recovery as counties reopen.
Schumer added, “Providing urgent relief to state, county and local governments is not an abstract concept – it is keeping healthcare workers, firefighters, bus drivers and other public service workers on the job; it is preserving vital services during a pandemic; it is staving off tax hikes at the worst possible time for already cash-strapped New Yorkers; and it is providing resources to help keep small businesses open and rebuild local economies. Communities throughout the Capital Region were nothing short of heroes as they fought on the frontlines to protect their residents, they shouldn’t have to fight to keep their jobs, stay afloat, and keep hospitals open.”
The senator explained that despite the unexpected good news of an increase in employment numbers for the private sector in June, job cuts within state and local governments continued to historically mount.
Specifically, the City of Schenectady estimates a $12 million loss in revenue while Schenectady County expects a $16 million loss, the City of Albany estimates a $19 million loss in revenue while Albany County expects a $30 million loss, and the City of Troy estimates a $9.5 million loss in revenue, while Rensselaer County expects up to a $20 million loss. Schumer said without direct, federal aid for municipalities, more and more staff in the Capital Region will continue to be cut or furloughed, severely impacting government services and support to local communities as they reopen.
Several Capital Region leaders joined Schumer in his call for direct state and local aid.
“Here in Schenectady we have worked for years to modernize our city, and revitalize downtown and our historic neighborhoods. Then out of nowhere this pandemic has socked us with $12 million in lost revenue,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy. “That’s just not something that a city like Schenectady can just make up elsewhere. We need the federal government to step to the plate if we are going to avoid layoffs and dire financial straits. Smaller cities like ours need direct federal aid, and I appreciate Senator Schumer’s efforts to fight for us in the U.S. Senate.”
"If the federal government refuses to provide direct emergency aid to state and local governments, painful budget cuts will be required to close the shortfall – cuts that would be borne on the backs of our police officers, fire fighters, sanitation workers, laborers, code enforcement officers, and other essential workers who continue to deliver essential city services to our residents,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Our city residents and workforce cannot be asked to bear this burden, whether through cuts to essential services, layoffs, or salary reductions. Senator Schumer deeply understands the challenges faced by our state’s municipalities, and I commend him for his support of fiscal aid for state and local governments, and his continued advocacy and partnership."
Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said, “Local municipalities like Troy are facing significant financial losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. These projected shortfalls threaten our ability to maintain critical operations and services in our community. Passage of the HEROES Act, in the House of Representatives, was an important step toward securing necessary aid and relief for local governments, and it’s critical that the legislation's provisions are included in negotiations for additional federal COVID-19 assistance for municipalities. We thank Senator Schumer and our federal representatives for their continued efforts to provide much-needed support to local communities like Troy impacted by the coronavirus.”
“Local governments in New York State, and beyond, are facing financial devastation due to the recent economic standstill experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Schenectady County Legislature Deputy Chairman Philip Fields. “In Schenectady County alone, we are anticipating a revenue shortfall of $16 million dollars. Without direct aid from the federal government, there is no way for even the most fiscally disciplined municipality to provide essential services to its residents while experiencing this steep decline in revenue. On behalf of my colleagues, and the residents of Schenectady County, I want to thank Senator Schumer for his attention to this issue, and his advocacy on behalf of local governments.”
“While the health and public safety of our residents has been our first priority, the reality of the economic situation and a shortfall of $30 million or more in lost revenue needs to be addressed to help our residents,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. “We need assistance from the federal government so this incredible burden won’t be borne by our taxpayers who are struggling with financial hardship as well. Thank you, Senator Schumer for all you are doing to help us during this unprecedented crisis.”
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