The Washington Examiner:
Cuomo: Federal government needs to fill New York’s budget gap
The state of New York faces a budget deficit of $30 billion over the next two years thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday it’s up to the federal government to fill it. Without that help, Cuomo told reporters that funding for local governments and hospitals would take a significant hit. Education will too, unless the federal bill requires states to fully fund education. His comments come a day after Senate Republicans in Washington revealed details of their latest COVID-19 relief package proposal, called the HEALS Act.
Cuomo sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation urging them to push for $500 billion in unrestricted state aid that the National Governor’s Association is calling on Congress to pass, and he wants them to fight for every dollar they can get for New York. With no federal funding, the state faces 20 percent cuts to education, health care and funding for cities and counties. “The way we did the state budget this year is we basically had a big hole financially, and then we had a hole in terms of what the revenues would be because the revenues in large part are going to be the revenues that are provided by this federal bill,” Cuomo said.
“There have been several attempts at this federal legislation,” he added. “None of them have adequately served the state of New York, and they frankly have been politically motivated and they’ve shorted the state of New York. This is the last bill that they’ll probably get done, and this is going to be the determinative bill.”
In his letter to the delegation, Cuomo noted the state has received $25,000 for every COVID-19 case while Alaska has received $2.5 million for each one. In addition to getting funding for the state, Cuomo also wants to see the final bill restore the state and local income tax exemption for federal taxes. Cuomo doesn’t see a possibility to raise revenue and address the shortfalls, and that includes a higher tax rate on billionaires and other high-income earners.
His budget director, Robert Mujica, added that the state already has a very progressive tax rate, with the top 2 percent of earners accounting for 60 percent of state tax dollars. The governor noted that asking them to pay more taxes would run counter to efforts in trying to lure those individuals out of the suburbs and back into New York City.