Roosevelt Island Tram at work

Stimulus bill in U.S. Senate poised to drive more than $23.5 billion to New York state, local governments

  • By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor / March 5th, 2021

(The Center) – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged on Thursday that the body will vote on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus plan in the coming days, passage of which would send tens of billions of dollars in support to his home state of New York.

Across the state, New York officials will be watching closely as state and local governments are projected to receive more than $23.5 billion in direct aid as part of the spending plan.

According to the bill, H.R. 1319, state, local and county governments can use the funding to cover the costs of the health emergency or “its negative economic impacts.” That includes replacing revenues that the community or state missed out on in the past year.

Roosevelt Island Tram at work
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) hopes the stimulus package will help fill the gap carved out by reduced Tram ridership.

In determining how much states will receive, federal lawmakers devised a formula that includes unemployment as a factor. According to an analysis from U.S. House Budget Committee Republicans, that measure means the state will receive about $2.2 billion more in aid than if the allocation was based solely on population.

A group of 22 Republican governors are calling on the Senate to revise that formula.

However, Schumer on the Senate floor Thursday said the bill has strong bipartisan support across the country, and it appears that the only group opposed to it are congressional Republicans.

“The entire country has gotten behind it,” Schumer said. “Hundreds of the nation’s top business leaders support the plan. More than 400,000 hundred mayors and local leaders from both parties, Democrat and Republican support the plan.”

Under the plan, New York state is set to receive about $12.7 billion. While only Texas and California will receive more, it’s still less than the $15 billion Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for from the federal government. However, with New York City in line to get $4.3 billion and other cities like Buffalo ($350 million), Rochester ($207 million) and Syracuse ($126 million) in line to get substantial sums that may help the state avoid drastic cuts in the upcoming budget.

“The state budget is going to turn the page to the rebuilding phase,” Cuomo told reporters Wednesday. “We’ve been working very hard to get funding from Washington to fill the gap and that has been going well. We have to see what we actually get.”

Counties, too, are in line for funding. On Long Island, Nassau County is projected to get $398 million and Suffolk is slated to get $286 million. Elsewhere, Westchester County is expected to get $188 million and Erie County is in line for $178 million.

New York City will also receive additional funding beyond the $4.3 billion as each of the five boroughs will also receive some aid. In all, the boroughs will receive $1.6 billion, with Brooklyn getting $496 million and Queens getting $437 million.

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