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The original item was published from 4/27/2020 11:56:12 AM to 5/10/2020 12:00:01 AM.

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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: April 27, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Wall St Journal: NYS may cut financial help to schools/local gov by 20%

Wall Street Journal and Politico mentions that NYS may cut school and local government aid by as much as 20%. You can help by writing to members of Congresss. Ask them to support stimulus funding for state, local governments so this doesn't happen.


In April the NYS Legislature approved a budget that authorizes the Governor to make reductions to schools and local governments WITHOUT obtaining permission from the Legislature. The following article appeared in City & State this morning and announced that the bad budgetary news may happen.  An article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal said "officials warn state aid could fall as much as 20% as revenue drops amid pandemic."

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO has announced more than $10 billion in spending cuts as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage New York’s economy with no guaranteed end in sight. The budget department released a new financial plan Saturday alongside a consensus the global and national economies are in recession and the state’s outlook is "similarly bleak." The $10.1 billion in cuts includes chopping $8.2 billion in local aid to places such as schools, health care programs and municipalities, authorized under this year’s fluid budget, which allows the administration to make reductions on an as-needed basis. State agency operations will be reduced by 10 percent, with hiring, salary increases and purchasing all put on hold. Altogether, the cuts represent a spending decrease of $7.3 billion and the largest annual percent decline in spending since the Great Depression, according to the budget department. POLITICO’s Anna Gronewold

  Last week the town anticipates as much as a  $7 million dollar revenue shortfall due to the Coronavirus crisis. We anticipate losing significant revenue: hotel tax, sales tax, user fees, mortgage tax, court fees, etc.  The $7 million number is only an estimate. If the federal government approves a stimulus grant for local governments we won’t be in as much financial trouble. If the economy bounces back after NYS re-opens it will be helpful.  The Town Board and I would rather be prepared than sorry. We are putting the 2020 capital budget on hold; the police/court house move will be delayed, there is a hiring freeze for all but very essential employees, all spending over $2000 must be approved by the Town Board. I have suggested to the Governor that the state authorize local governments that commit to a zero percent tax hike to offer employees early retirement incentives if we also agree to reduce our work force long term. Bulk rate pickups have been suspended for the time being.  Other cost cutting measures are also being considered.
The Town Board and I  are strongly encouraging the federal government to pass legislation that would provide financial assistance to local governments like Greenburgh.  If we are successful in obtaining the funding, the need for cuts will be greatly reduced.  I participated in a conference call with Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer  and believe that there is a strong chance that the federal government will consider a Stimulus plan for local governments. 
WHAT YOU CAN DO --WRITE TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND ASK THEM TO FIGHT FOR FINANCIAL AID TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS  If you have friends, family in other states ask them to do you a favor and also contact lawmakers  You can help by sending the following letter to our Congressional representatives. If you reside in other congressional districts (doesn’t have to be NY) or if you have family or friends in other states - please contact U.S. Senators and members of Congress.   Your help will enable us to save jobs, avoid cutbacks and continue to provide residents with essential services.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand478 Russell Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC
Senator Charles Schumer322 Hart Senate Office BuildingWashington, D.C. 20510

Congresswoman Nita Lowey222 Mamaroneck Ave., Suite 310White Plains, NY
Congressman Eliot L. Engel6 Gramatan Ave., Suite 205Mount Vernon, NY  10550  

Dear Hon. ___________________ I am writing to ask that you (continue supporting / support) direct funding for local governments in the next federal stimulus package. The Town of Greenburgh provide services like highway maintenance and snow removal, water and sewer infrastructure, police protection, parks and recreation, animal control, and contract for fire and ambulance services.  We do all of this in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
However, the COVID-19 crisis is putting these services in peril.  Estimates state that $2 billion in sales tax revenue is lost, and even then, towns receive sales tax from the county only if a sharing agreement is in place; counties are not mandated to share sales tax with towns.  We have lost revenue in the form of justice court fines, permit fees, parking tickets, and mortgage recording tax.  New York State faces its own challenges, and as part of the recently adopted state budget, our governor has the ability to scale back funding for local governments, which will be necessary if the federal government does not help.
Providing local governments with federal funding should not be a political issue.  It is a matter of protecting all New York State residents and having the resources to continue to provide them with basic necessities, like access to clean water and the ability to safely travel.  It is also a matter of economic health; in New York local governments account for 14 percent of jobs statewide.  Lack of funding means layoffs and scaling back services.
Thank you for your work and your support.

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