New York State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-I-C-Rome, today called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to release important COVID relief funding that could help local communities and counties that are facing significant financial stress and pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress earlier this year. It included $7 billion in funding for New York State that was to be distributed to local governments. Of that $7 billion, there is $1 billion remaining. This funding is being withheld by the state Division of Budget and could help smaller localities suffering from reduced sales tax revenue and a lack of federal aid.
“Our local governments face significant fiscal challenges as a result of COVID-19,” Sen. Griffo said. “While these entities suffer financially, the Governor and his administration continue to withhold vital and needed federal funding that could help them during this difficult time. This is unacceptable. The Governor must release the remaining COVID relief funding immediately. Communities throughout my district and the state need help now. We should be doing all that we can to help them, not burdening them further in a time of need.”
This is not the first time that the state has withheld federal funding during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, New York received approximately $162 million in CARES Act funding that was allocated for childcare programs and providers, as well as $10 million from the CARES Child Care Scholarship program that helps essential workers pay for childcare services. While a large portion of the funding has helped to provide personal protective equipment and cleaning equipment to childcare facilities, about $70 million was withheld by the state.
“We continue to see a reluctance from this administration to release essential funding from the federal government,” Sen. Griffo said. “This funding is from the federal CARES Act – not New York State. The state’s responsibility is to deliver the funds to those who need them. It is frustrating and disappointing that the administration, during such trying times, continues to hold up the distribution of funding that would help so many residents, families and communities.”