UTICA, N.Y. – More than 25 local leaders are urging the government to provide more federal funding to localities to prevent detrimental effects on communities across the state from the coronavirus pandemic.
Congressman Anthony Brindisi says without this essential funding, areas in his district will be forced to cut the costs of education and public safety, among other services.
“If our communities are forced to declare bankruptcy like Sen. McConnell suggested, that will force our state and local leaders to cut essential services,” said Brindisi. “That will mean less cops on the beat, less firefighters at the firehouse, and less resources for our teachers. COVID-19 has already devastated our economies and many of our families, we cannot let Washington politics compound the pain. I will fight tooth and nail to make sure the next coronavirus relief bill includes aid for our state and local governments.”
Brindisi and other local lawmakers penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling on them to provide more assistance to local and state governments in the next round of federal funding.
"It's so important that we make sure the priorities of our communities are not left behind, because of we don’t see assistance in the next package for our hometown heroes who have been keeping us going during this pandemic -- it's going to mean forced layoffs, it's going to mean raised taxes for local and state government, and schools possibly closing,” said Brindisi.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell:
We, the undersigned State Representatives, County Executives, Mayors, Supervisors, and Legislators in the 22nd Congressional District of New York write to urge for the inclusion of desperately needed funding for State and local governments in the next emergency coronavirus package.
With more than 300,000 cases and more than 18,000 deaths, New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in America. As of April 27, there were more than 1,100 cases in NY-22 counties. New York has been under a statewide shelter-in-place order since late March.
New York State and the local county and municipal governments in our community are facing enormous costs in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including rapid activation and expansion of emergency services, overtime and hazard compensation for first responders, personal protective equipment, and more. The coronavirus pandemic has not only increased costs for local governments, but shelter-in-place orders have also negatively impacted vital revenue such as sales taxes, court fees, parking fees, energy tax receipts and other revenue that State and local governments depend on.
Without targeted stabilization funding, our State, counties, cities, and towns will be unable to continue providing critical services to our residents. We appreciate the support Congress has provided so far but we are concerned that without significant additional federal support to New York we will be forced to slash essential services, including public schools, police and fire departments, and much more.
That is why we strongly urge you to include support for State and local governments in any future COVID-19 relief package. We support efforts to allow state, county, and municipal governments to seek assistance regardless of population size and without onerous preconditions from the federal government.
Our country is strong because in times of peril we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans first. After the horrific attacks of September 11, President Bush came to New York to say that he stands with our State, with our first responders, and with our communities. That is the type of leadership we need now.
Without your support for this proposal or others like it, our communities will struggle to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect our residents, and recover our economies. We implore you to work on a bipartisan basis to address the concerns outlined in this letter.
Thank you for your consideration.
Among those who signed the letter were: Sen. Joe Griffo, Sen. James Seward, Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, Assemblyman Brian Miller, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent Bono, Rome Mayor Jackie Izzo and Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.