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Local governments left out from new COVID-19 relief aid

One of the areas of concern is local governments, because the stimulus deal includes no direct money to them.

News 12 Staff

Dec 21, 2020, 10:37 PM

Updated 1,273 days ago

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Help is on the way for Long Island residents financially ravaged by the pandemic thanks to a long-awaited deal on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package. But what that package doesn't cover is causing quite a bit of concern as well.
One of the areas of concern is local governments, because the stimulus deal includes no direct money to them.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Long Island's two county executives and the 13 town supervisors have all been pleading with Congress for money for months. They say their expenses are up and revenues are down, and that they'll have to raise taxes or cut services unless they get money from Washington.
"The cost of operating went up -- all the sanitizing and everything that we've had to do like everyone else. So putting together next year's budget was extraordinarily challenging and unfortunately we had to increase taxes, albeit it was $33 a year, it was still tough. This was not the year we wanted to see a tax increase," says Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter.
Cuomo criticized the lack of state aid in the relief package. He says the pandemic has left New York with a $15 billion deficit.
As for why the package didn't include money for governments, that's where things get political. Democrats in Congress support the idea but Republicans don't. They view direct aid as a bailout that primarily helps larger -- and mostly Democratic -- states. It's an argument even some Republicans say is short-sighted.
"Take a place like Kentucky. In some cases, they need relief more than we do but they built up such an antagonism against New York politicians, it's like cutting off your nose to spite your face," says Rep. Peter King. "They'll vote against aid packages thinking it's all going to New York, New Jersey and California."
At this point, local governments can only hope that Congress will approve another stimulus package early next year that will include direct aid to them.


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