Cuomo clarifies ‘disappointment’ in stimulus as COVID-19 wreaks budgetary havoc

March 25, 2020 - Albany, NY - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol in Albany. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

It isn’t only an existential crisis anymore – the state budget deadline is still April 1.

The $2 trillion stimulus package approved by the federal government to help states and corporations tango with the expenses of coronavirus was an “irresponsible” move for the factors it excludes, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday, as he reported 385 deaths across the state.

Going into further detail of his distaste for the stimulus, Cuomo said New York is only to get $5 billion despite being the most heavily affected state in the union and that this will only cover COVID-19 expenses; not governmental expenses, despite the MTA getting $3.8 billion from the deal.

“What’s happening to a state government – any state – what’s happening to a city government, is a double-whammy. You have increased expenses because of COVID-19 numbers and you have a tremendous loss of revenue because all those businesses are closed and all those people are out of work,” “We’re spending more to take care of the COVID virus and we’re receiving less. In the middle of all this, we have to balance a budget.”

The budget is still due for passage by the state legislature on April 1 and without knowing the full scope of revenue loss – and no quantifiable monetary help from the feds in the immediate – Cuomo is not hopeful about balancing it on time.

“If the federal government had taken an action that helped state governments, city governments, etcetera, that would have put us in one situation,” Cuomo said. “The stimulus bill helped unemployment insurance and that is a good thing; it helped small businesses and that is a good thing; it did not help local governments… and did not address the governmental loss.”

The Cuomo administration plans to adjust the budget through the years to reflect what they believe to be the actual revenue. He said this is the only the budget can be balanced with much of the state’s financials being terra incognita.

New York continues to be a hotbed of cases, leading the nation in not only cases but also losses at about 37,258 total, including 21,393 cases in New York City, Cuomo reported. Partisanship was alive and well in the chambers of capital when the stimulus package was passed, the governor contended.

The number of deaths increased by 100 overnight, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said that the state has a high number of people on ventilators who have been so for over 20 days. Experts tell his administration that this likely means the death toll will continue to rise.

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