Press Release

Gillibrand, Morelle Call For Direct Federal Relief Funding For Local Governments Responding To And Recovering From Coronavirus Pandemic In Rochester

Jul 3, 2020

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Joe Morelle called for legislation to provide local governments with direct federal relief that can be used to pay for essential services and offset lost revenues and increased costs stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. As local governments have faced slashed revenues due to the pandemic, direct assistance is needed to help state and local governments recover from this crisis.  

Concerned about the layoffs of public health care workers, firefighters, police, sanitation workers, teachers, and other vital public servants across New York, Gillibrand and Morelle are fighting to ensure that all counties, cities, towns, and villages — regardless of size — receive federal funding in order to continue providing these critical services. The direct relief would help local governments avoid local tax and fee increases that would place a heavier burden on already cash-strapped families and businesses in crisis.

“Our local governments are facing unprecedented financial hardship, as the COVID-19 outbreak has caused costs to surge and revenue to dwindle. Without federal funding to fill these gaps, there will be even more hardship in people’s lives,” said Senator Gillibrand. “For months, I have fought for this relief in order to ensure local governments have the resources to pay our first responders, health care workers, teachers, and public servants, and to enable them to continue serving our communities without raising taxes or fees. We know that direct federal relief for local governments is absolutely critical to respond to this crisis, not just for this community, but also for our country. I will do everything in my power to ensure that this critical funding is included in the next economic relief package.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on both state and local government revenues and threatens to jeopardize the stability of our education system, critical health social service programs, public safety services and so much more,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “While we have worked diligently to flatten the curve, communities across our nation will continue to feel the effects of COVID-19 for months to come – that’s why it’s so important that we take action to ensure local governments have the resources they need to respond to this unprecedented challenge and preserve essential programs and services. I’m grateful for the partnership of Senator Gillibrand as we fight to provide the stability families need now more than ever.” 

“Monroe County, like so many other local and municipal governments across New York and throughout the Nation, is facing difficult fiscal and economic challenges as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. However, we remain hopeful that we will be able to offset our current budget deficit with the passage of these federal measures and midyear budget adjustments so that we can continue to deliver critically needed services to the hard working men, women and families of Monroe County. I am grateful to Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Morelle for their leadership and advocacy on this issue and for all that they continue to do for the residents of our community,” said Adam Bello, Monroe County Executive.

“During this pandemic, local governments like Brighton are being asked to do much more with much less. Brighton’s budget and those of other communities has been decimated by the loss of sales tax and other revenues due to COVID-19. Without the direct federal relief that Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Morelle are fighting for, we will have to make drastic decisions that will put essential services at risk,” said WilliamMoehle, Town Supervisor Brighton.

“As New York recovers from being the epicenter of the global health pandemic, Upstate New York communities are still hamstrung as they scramble to handle the economic devastation the virus left in its path,” said Senator Schumer. With imminent budget cuts and layoffs mounting across New York, Senator McConnell needs to wake up to this crisis and support legislation that provides fiscal relief for state and local governments so Upstate New York can recover, rebuild, and flourish once again.” 

The nation’s economic recovery depends on the survival of state and local governments. However, New York alone is projected to lose more than $240 billion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many counties, Monroe County is facing a budget deficit of tens of millions of dollars due to decreased revenues. Because of these deficits, thousands of New Yorkers working in state and local government have already lost their jobs at a time when many families are already struggling to make ends meet. 

Senator Gillibrand previously introduced the Direct Support for Communities Act to alleviate local budget shortfalls. The legislation would create a local relief fund to help cities, towns, villages, and counties address costs associated with lost revenues, and would help avoid cuts to essential services or local tax and fee increases. Part of the funding would be administered to localities through the Community Development Block Grant program while additional funding would be sent directly to states to allocate to communities based on population. Senator Gillibrand has consistently urged the Senate to include this legislation and desperately needed state and local funding in the next relief package.