New York needs $61 billion in coronavirus aid from the federal government or the state will face hefty funding cuts to schools, local governments and even hospitals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
“When you don’t fund the state, who does the state fund?” asked Cuomo during his daily press briefing. “That’s police, firefighters. You want me to cut hospitals?
“Hospitals are the nurses and the doctors who just got us through this, and everyone celebrates as heroes.”
Cuomo, who has repeatedly expressed disappointment with the lack of help for state and local governments in previous federal stimulus packages, renewed his plea as House Democrats prepared to vote late this week on a $3 trillion aid bill.
“We know what our budget looks like,” Cuomo told reporters at the Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Johnson City, NY, among the regions cleared Monday to begin returning to business later this week.
“We need $61 billion in federal support or we will wind up aggravating the situation.”
The plea was underscored by a slide projecting 20-percent cuts in funding to schools, local governments and hospitals statewide without federal assistance.
Cuomo said that he and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, would issue a bipartisan joint statement through the National Governors Association calling on Congress to give states the help they need.
“States need funding, and not pork-barrel funding, and not funding that flows through the states but gets to their special interests. That’s not what we want,” he said. “We want funding to allow us to do our job.”
Cuomo made the call to avoid financial ruin as the pandemic’s human toll continued to grow, with an additional 195 confirmed coronavirus deaths reported in the 24-hour period ending at midnight Tuesday.
The state death toll now stands at 21,834, not counting thousands of presumed coronavirus fatalities in which the deceased wasn’t officially tested but displayed symptoms of the disease.
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