SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – As leaders in Washington continue negotiations over the next coronavirus relief package, New Yorkers are pleading for help. Tight budgets at the local and state levels could lead to tax increases and layoffs in the future.
Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) has signatures of every major leader in his district, asking that the next coronavirus relief package includes help for state and local governments.
“Without aid from Washington, I fear for the worse,” Brindisi said.
To bolster his position, he was joined by local teachers and emergency personnel during a news conference Monday. Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said needs remain even though county budgets are getting pummeled, in part due to a drastic drop in sales tax revenue.
“We are seeing a significant rise in domestic violence calls that law enforcement is being dispatched to, which is a concern for us,” said Maciol. “With courts shut down, we have multiple grand jury indictments that can’t be pushed through.”
Utica teacher Kirsten Vivacua said the situation is the same for educators, who pivoted quickly to remote learning when schools shut down in March. She worries about schools dealing with coronavirus fallout with smaller budgets.
“We are going to have to catch kids up. As much as we are doing, it’s not the same as having them with us all the time. We’re also going to dealing with a lot of social and emotional difficulties.”
Brindisi says government and school district leaders across the 22nd are making contingency budget plans to deal with the expected coronavirus fallout. And as the state with the biggest number of COVID cases, New York deserves the help.
“Without aid from Washington, we’re going to see higher taxes on the local level, and cuts in services as well as laying off teachers, cops, firefighters,” he said.
If Congress gets the okay from health officials, members could be heading down to Washington for a vote on the relief package next week.