Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) is joining his colleagues in the Senate Minority Conference in calling for the Senate to resume the 2020 Legislative session to address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the senators say the virus and the subsequent shutdown of most businesses has created an economic crisis across the state.
“Over the past two months, thousands of our fellow New Yorkers have died or have been fallen ill to COVID-19 and we must continue to take responsible steps to protect the health of our citizens,” Senator Gallivan said. “At the same time, more than 1.8 million residents have filed for unemployment benefits as our economy was virtually shut down overnight. We must also take action to help our business community, especially small businesses, fighting to survive in hopes of bring their workers back as soon as possible.”
New York’s National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has said that small businesses have been hurt by the shutdown even more sharply than the broader economy, with approximately 75 percent applying for federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which represents an unprecedented demand for assistance.
Most of the measures Senator Gallivan and his colleagues are advancing would not involve an outlay of state funds, but are generally more aimed at preserving cash flow. The legislation includes the following bills:
S8179-Small Business Relief Bill (Co-sponsored by Senator Gallivan) – Comprehensive measure includes provisions that would give businesses a 90-day extension on monthly sales and payroll taxes; eliminate penalties for late payment of business and property taxes; offer no interest loans and lines of credit from the NY Mortgage Corp., and extend the cure period for various violations.
S8249- Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19 (Co-sponsored by Senator Gallivan) – While layoffs by an employer typically result in higher unemployment insurance rates, this bill would recognize the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic by exempting COVID-19 related layoffs from being used in unemployment rate calculations for the following year.
S8319- Coronavirus Business Interruption and Municipal Recovery Program (Co-sponsored by Senator Gallivan) – This measure would establish a financial recovery grant program through the Empire State Development Corporation that would provide monthly relief to businesses, non-profits and local governments who have suffered serious economic loss due to COVID-19 and who have not received insurance payouts or other state or federal assistance.
In their letter to Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Republicans concluded, “The sacrifices of everyday New Yorkers across the state are making a difference and giving us hope that better days are imminent. However, we need to ensure that when this crisis has passed, that there are jobs and opportunities waiting for them. That is a goal that needs our support and action right now.”
In addition to Senator Gallivan, the following Senators signed the letter: George Borrello, George Amedore, Pamela Helming, Chris Jacobs, Tom O’Mara, Michael Ranzenhofer, James Seward and Sue Serino.