May 5, 2020 By Christian Murray
Gov. Andrew Cuomo took aim at Washington today, particularly Republican leaders who are reluctant to fund state governments hard hit by the coronavirus.
Cuomo, speaking at his daily press briefing, called on federal lawmakers to put partisan politics aside and include aid for state and local governments in its next stimulus bill.
“If you starve the states how do you expect the states to be able to fund this entire reopening plan which the governors are in charge of,” Cuomo asked.
He noted that the states need the funds to pay for essential services such as police, firefighters, hospital workers and teachers. He said that without federal help it will be hard for many states to reopen.
Cuomo also took a shot at President Donald Trump, who was quoted in the New York Post saying that the states in need of funding are Democratic states and that it is the result of mismanagement.
Trump said it was not right to require Republican states to provide “bailouts.”
“It’s not fair to the Republicans because all the states that need help — they’re run by Democrats in every case,” Trump told the Post. “I don’t think the Republicans want to be in a position where they bail out states that are, that have been mismanaged over a long period of time.”
Cuomo took this argument to task, noting that New York State’s $13 billion projected deficit pales in comparison to what the state has provided the federal government with in recent years.
“We have put more money in the federal pot than what’s been given back for decades,” Cuomo said.
Since 2015, he said, the state has provided the federal government with $116 billion more than what it has received.
Cuomo said that many of the Republican leaders opposed to funding blue states represent districts that consistently take more from the federal government than what they put in.
Cuomo said that there is a need for bipartisanship to get a stimulus bill that would cover funding the states. He said the previous stimulus legislation helped hotels, airlines, small businesses and now it is time to help state and local governments.
He said that the Trump administration wants governors to be in control but they are limited if they don’t have the resources they need.
Cuomo also reviewed the current COVID-19 data pertaining to the state at the briefing.
He noted that the number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and intubations continues to decline and that there were 230 people who died from the virus in the past 24 hours.
Cuomo said that the balancing act of reopening the economy versus the likely increase in deaths is now being debated.
“There is a cost of staying closed and a cost of reopening early,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo pointed to recently released data that shows the projected number of deaths across the nation is expected to jump significantly—now that the reopening dates of various states has been factored in.
Cuomo, citing IHME data, said that the projection is that there will be 135,000 deaths by Aug. 4. On April 17, the number was projected to be 60,308.
“The faster we open, the higher the human cost,” he said.
“That’s the hard truth we are all dealing with. Let’s be honest and be open about it,” Cuomo said. “The question comes back to: ‘How much is a human life worth?’”