Gillibrand pushes for federal funding for local governments

Senate currently on recess and will address next stimulus package upon return

Mike Baggerman
July 03, 2020 - 12:12 pm
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand pushes for federal funding for local governments with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. July 3, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand pushes for federal funding for local governments with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. July 3, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – There is a renewed push for federal lawmakers to pass another coronavirus stimulus bill which would provide relief to state and local governments that are hurting financially due to the economy.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited Buffalo on Friday and called on Senate republicans to move forward in the plan to provide stimulus funding to offset the financial damage caused by the pandemic.

“Cities like Buffalo, which had planned to end the year with a surplus, are now looking at mounting deficits,” Gillibrand said. “The state budget office projected that New York will lose more than $240 billion over the course of the recovery. $240 billion is almost 15 percent of the state’s entire GDP.”

Officials warn that a lack of federal funding will mean a loss in services and jobs and an increase in taxes.

“Senator McConnell will not even bring this bill to the floor,” Gillibrand said. “I’ve repeatedly called on him to bring a relief bill onto the floor quickly to ensure we get the state and local relief aid that our state so desperately needs.”

Local leaders have pleaded for relief funds from the federal government for months. Erie County is projected to lose more than $137 million while Buffalo has already passed its budget that expects more than $68 million in federal funding that it has not received.

READ MORE: Poloncarz addresses budget deficit caused by coronavirus (June 4)

“Because of COVID-19, we ended the 2019-2020 fiscal year with over $18.5 million in deficit,” Mayor Brown said. “In the next fiscal year, we need a minimum of $65 million to close the city’s budget gap or there will be massive layoffs, there will be program and service cuts, which would be devastating to the City of Buffalo and our region.”

The Senate is currently on a two-week recess for Fourth of July. McConnell said the Senate will move forward with the next coronavirus package when they return from recess.

“The focus will be kids, jobs, and health care,” McConnell said. “Any bill that passes the Senate will have liability protections in it…It’s not just for businesses. It’s liability protections for everyone.”

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