December 9, 2020
“By any fair estimate, New York is the economic engine of the United States, a fact that should be recognized in any federal legislation intended to jumpstart the national economy, and no state was damaged to the extent that the federal government damaged New York.”
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York labor leaders today sent a letter to the New York Congressional Delegation on the critical need for state and local funding in any stimulus bill in order to prevent massive damage.
The text of the letter is in full below and can be found online here:
Dear Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Members of the New York Congressional Delegation:
You are well aware of the desperate circumstances New York suffered at the outset of the COVID crisis and continues to endure today. We understand Congress is considering a short-term federal funding measure of approximately $908 billion in COVID-19 relief. As an interim measure, this proposal should address states’ immediate and pressing needs, and it is essential and fair that New York receive at least a minimum amount of funding necessary to stop further massive damage.
It is important to remind your federal colleagues that New York paid a unique price for COVID. New York’s damages were a direct result of federal negligence. Unlike almost any other state, the COVID crisis in New York was caused by the COVID virus coming from Europe. Scientists have definitively traced our COVID strain to European countries. The Trump Administration was either unaware or did not inform New York that the virus had traveled from China to Europe and was traveling to New York State.
The Trump Administration banned travel from China on February 1 but did not ban European travel until March 16. By that time, over 3 million Europeans had traveled to New York and had been spreading the virus for months prior to our notification. That explains the explosion of cases in New York State. These facts have been confirmed by Dr. Redfield and Dr. Fauci in testimony before Congress.
Federal aid in the $908 billion package must be proportionate to the damage incurred by states and consider the federal liability. New York has the highest number of deaths in the nation and has among the highest number of unemployed people in the nation because COVID came to New York before the Trump Administration even acknowledged COVID’s presence on the eastern seaboard. Federal funds should not be distributed politically but rather distributed by need and damage. By any fair estimate, New York is the economic engine of the United States, a fact that should be recognized in any federal legislation intended to jumpstart the national economy, and no state was damaged to the extent that the federal government damaged New York.
New York’s need is dire. If the MTA does not receive $4.5 billion this year, 9,000 workers will be laid off, and subway and bus fares and tolls on crossings will be increased beyond the level of inflation. If New York State does not receive a minimum of $15 billion in aid, or if New York City does not receive a minimum of $9 billion in direct aid, then tax increases, layoffs of essential workers, and significant borrowing will all be necessary. This is no time to be imposing more burdens on hard-working New York families, nor is this the time to lay off essential workers, moments before we undertake a complicated and labor-intensive vaccination program.
We understand that you hope this initial package will fund states through next March at which time a more substantial package will be passed. However, we will not make it to March without the necessary funding outlined above.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Mayor Bill de Blasio
Temporary President and Majority Leader
New York State Senate
New York State Assembly
New York State AFL-CIO
Transport Workers Union of America
Transportation Workers Union of Greater New York Local 100
Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
Henry A. Garrido
District Council 37
President, Teamsters Local 237 &
Vice President-At Large, International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Board
United Federation of Teachers
NYS Public Employees Federation
Mary E. Sullivan
CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME
New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council
Municipal Labor Committee
Communications Workers of America District 1
Council of School Supervisors & Administrators, New York City
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
New York State United Teachers