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City warns up to 22,000 layoffs if federal stimulus package does not have more state aid

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that his administration will layoff thousands of municipal workers unless the federal government passes a second pandemic stimulus package that calls for greater state aid than what Senate Republicans presented on Monday. 

On Monday, Senate Republicans revealed their plan for a $1 trillion stimulus proposal meant to help those negatively affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The bill, dubbed the Health Economic Assistance, Liability Protection & Schools Act (HEALS), includes an extension for federal unemployment, another round of direct $1,200 checks, help for small businesses, funding to help reopen schools, continued student loan deferment and new funds for COVID-19 testing. 

“I have to say to Majority Leader McConnell not much of a stimulus there,” de Blasio said during a Tuesday morning press conference.”In fact, I would call it a non-starter,” he added quipping back at McConnell’s description of the bill as “a starting place,” according to CNN. 

The bill, which received criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, proposes replacing the federal government’s $ 600 a week boost to unemployment benefits to $200 which would represent a 43% cut in state and federal aid. 

The $200 a week payment would continue through September. In October states would be expected roll out individualized help for the unemployed that would replace 70% of their lost earnings. 

“This plan literally provides zero support for state governments that are getting through this crisis, that are struggling just to keep basic services going to provide the health services people need to make sure that our first responders and healthcare heroes to still have their jobs… it literally misses the opportunity to help us fight back,” de Blasio told reporters. 

De Blasio first said that the city might have to lay off 22,000 city workers across all agencies shortly before budget negotiations in June. Due to the economic downturn caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the city lost an extra $9 billion in tax revenue last fiscal year. 

The deficit was more than $ 1 billion than the initial $7.4 billion hole de Blasio anticipated when he issued is $89.3 billion budget proposal in April. In June, the mayor and the City Council passed an even more grim fiscal year 2021 budget of $88.1 billion. 

Layoffs would start on October 1., to fill a $1 billion gap in the city budget de Blasio said if the city could not renegotiate city worker contracts with unions or if the federal government did not step in. 

“This is like the Republicans and the Senate saying they have a fire truck and they go to a burning building and they park the fire truck in front of the burning building but they refuse to hook up the hose and put out the fire,” de Blasio said. 

 

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