NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Financial relief is headed to New York City and the state.
With the presidential election going to Joe Biden and the Senate soon to be in the hands of Democrats, money will be flowing to some states more easily. Schumer, the incoming Senate majority leader, said the process has begun.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency had been reimbursing the city and state at 75%. Now it goes to 100%.
“Good news for New York. For the first time in a while, New York is being treated more fairly by Washington than it has been in the past,” Schumer said.
The Empire State’s senior senator announced the incoming Biden administration will be freeing up COVID relief money from FEMA.
“What this will mean is that New York will get $2 billion more — About $1 billion for the state and $1 billion for New York City,” Schumer said.
And it won’t need Congressional approval.
Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed the relief.
“Tried to get it from President Trump. President Trump wouldn’t do it. Tried to get it from the Republican Senate. They wouldn’t do it. But President-elect Biden said absolutely,” de Blasio said.
he mayor said he will cancel cuts of $150 million coming out of the Department of Education, adding he will now be able to restore the expansion of 3-K.
“Three-K’s been an incredible success. Parents want it and need it. It’s now going to be coming back,” he said.
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The money would just be a start for a state and city that are already drowning in red ink.
The pandemic has left the city and state in dire financial straits, perhaps for years to come.
“The Cuomo administration estimates that over four years, the state is gonna lose about $63 billion worth of tax revenue that it would have received had there been no pandemic,” said Erik Engquist, senior managing editor of the real estate publication The Real Deal.
That makes the need for federal money event more urgent.
When asked what kind of direct aid to states and cities is possible and how much kind of money it’ll be in actual dollars, Schumer said, “Well, direct aid goes right to the city and state governments to help prevent layoffs … The hope is to get it all done before the next unemployment cliff occurs. What is an unemployment cliff? That’s when unemployment benefits runs out and that is March 14.”
So what does this mean in practical terms for New York?
“The state budget is about $177 billion and the city’s budget $90 billion, so $2 billion is not huge amount by New York’s standards, but it is something. It means that some programs, some little programs that might have been cut could now be saved,” Engquist said.
Engquist said the city and state can decide how they want to spend the money, since it’s a reimbursement.
“We don’t need to spend this new money on COVID relief. We can spend it on anything what we want to,” Engquist said.
Meanwhile, the president-elect unveiled his plan Thursday night to send more money directly to Americans.
The $1.9 trillion relief plan includes $1,400 direct payments to individuals in addition to the $600 passed in December and increased unemployment insurance supplements to $400 a week.
“This gets money quickly into the pockets of millions of Americans who will spend it immediately on food and rent and other basic needs,” Biden said.
Biden acknowledges the price tag for his plan is a big one, and even with a Democratic Congress, he could face challenges getting it passed.
The president-elect also called the COVID vaccine rollout a dismal failure, saying he wanted 100 million people to be vaccinated by the end of his first 100 days in office.