Senator Velmanette Montgomery and other elected officials call on New York members of Congress to fight for the $500 Billion State and Local Aid Package
To Our Distinguished United States Senators and Representatives:
As you may know, New York was the only state with a budget timeframe falling squarely in the middle of the COVID-19 onslaught here. Nonetheless, we passed the state budget three weeks ago, essentially on-time albeit with great uncertainty. Given that an 11-digit deficit ($10-$15 Billion) materialized seemingly overnight, the budget assumed that draconian cuts to vital state services would be sequestered in the absence of substantial federal funds. In fact, because of your tremendous leadership on education needs in the CARES Act, we were able to eliminate proposed cuts in school funding and hold our Foundation Aid flat from the prior school year. We are deeply grateful for that effort.
Now the fiscal impact of COVID-19 is facing us head on and yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that without additional and long-anticipated federal aid, school funding in New York could face a 20% cut. This is simply unthinkable.
We need you as our warriors on Capitol Hill to fight for the $500 billion aid package to state governments advocated by our Governor along with the bipartisan National Governors Association. Extraordinary federal aid has been secured for major industries and small businesses; similar aid without stipulated restrictions is needed by state and local governments to ensure that vital public sector workers who run our hospital, transportation, school, and public safety systems can continue their indispensable efforts for all New Yorkers. Furthermore, the federal funds must be apportioned to states based on need and COVID-19 prevalence, and not based on overall population headcounts as earlier rounds of COVID-19 aid had been allocated. New York is the epicenter of the public health disaster in our nation and we should be receiving federal aid proportionate to that reality.
In addition, we urge you to add substantially to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund in the next bill, so that New York’s public school students will have sufficient resources to recover from school closures and COVIDrelated challenges - and so our districts get the funds in order to meet those needs.
To read the full letter, click here.