The state's budget deficit has widened during this COVID-19 pandemic, as resources have poured into fighting this virus.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, almost jokingly, said the state is so broke it barely has two nickels to rub together.
Depending on when businesses are allowed to reopen, the state's fiscal situation is uncertain. New York could be facing a $15 billion revenue shortfall that will likely need federal assistance to fill.
But this economic loss is also affecting upstate counties and threatening local governments.
“County elected officials took it upon themselves to protect their communities, put in place emergency protocol to affect the behavior of the people that live in their county,” said Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). “Counties are the front line, it is the regional government that has suffered the worst outside the state of New York and we are urging a desperate plea to our Congressional delegation.”
Acquario says counties are asking the state's federal delegation to pass a fourth stimulus bill that can provide funding for local communities battling the coronavirus. They estimate that local governments will lose around $2 billion in tax revenue from businesses being shut down and people being laid off from work.
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Localities have also been largely in charge of conducting testing, mapping out temporary hospitals sites, enacting emergency plans and even expanding their morgue capacities.
Even though Cuomo hesitantly said the worst could be behind New York, upstate is still bracing for a possible peak.
“There remains a four alarm alert in upstate New York right now, we are not through this despite the announcement of a plateau,” Acquario explained. “We are ready and we will remain vigilant until such time that the medical professionals tell us to change these emergency protocols.”
NYSAC says obtaining personal protective equipment and tests continue to be a struggle. They will be releasing a podcast over the next few days, outlining the impact the coronavirus has had on communities, the criminal justice system and essential state workers.