Speaker Carl Heastie and members of the Assembly Majority today sent a letter to the New York State Congressional delegation calling on them to support unrestricted aid to state and local governments that have borne the financial burden of confronting the COVID-19 crisis.
"To be blunt, we are struggling to find a path forward for our state and local governments to continue to operate without considerable financial assistance from our federal government. Without aid, we cannot continue to fund critical services such as healthcare, public safety, transportation and education. Under the cloud of a global pandemic, the most productive state in the country is facing massive cuts to our medical professionals, first responders, teachers and transportation workers – those who put their lives on the line to keep New Yorkers safe and whose jobs do not end with the pandemic," Speaker Heastie and the assemblymembers wrote.
The State Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget that passed at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis adopted difficult cuts in order to close a $7 billion gap. The revised financial plan released last week shows a scenario calling for an additional $10 billion in spending reductions across all sectors, excluding public health and safety among other mandatory costs. It would cut local assistance 20 to 30 percent, which would mean reductions to everything from school aid to Medicaid, property tax relief, agricultural support and more. It would also mean a 10 percent reduction to the state's workforce, including those who maintain our roads and bridges and those processing unemployment claims.
"We are the United States of America, not the United States until one needs help. New York State has always been there for our country during its times of need. Now we are counting on our federal government to stand with us. Your strong collective voice on behalf of the people and state you represent is needed now more than ever because unrestricted aid has never been more essential," Speaker Heastie and the assemblymembers wrote.