(Reuters) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday called on Congress to pass a stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic that funds police officers, teachers and other local and state employees and warned against repeating the corporate-focused bailouts following the 2008 financial crisis.
“Don’t do it again,” Cuomo said at a daily briefing, referring to the 2008 federal bailouts which big banks used in part to pay large bonuses to executives. “No handouts to greedy corporations, no political pork and no partisanship.”
Since early March, Congress has passed bills allocating $3 trillion to combat the pandemic, including money for individuals and companies to blunt an economic impact that saw the unemployment rate surge to 14.7% in April, as U.S. job losses hit levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The packages have not so far addressed the tax revenues lost by the individual states, many of which are facing huge budget shortfalls and scrambling to find money to pay the salaries of police officers and other public workers and pay for schools.
Cuomo, who said New York alone needed $61 billion in federal funding, called on Congress and President Donald Trump to support a bill that would address these funding gaps – a problem he stressed was dogging both Republican and Democratic governors.
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday unveiled a $3 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package that includes nearly $1 trillion in long-sought assistance for state and local governments, though the top Senate Republican had already bashed the proposal.
“This economy has been damaged through no fault of anyone,” said Cuomo, a Democrat. “But to get this economy back up again and running, we are going to need an intelligent stimulus bill from Washington.”
Cuomo said he and Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, would issue a joint statement later on Tuesday on the funding package. Hogan is the chair of the National Governors Association and Cuomo is the organization’s vice chair.
New York is by far the state hit hardest by the pandemic, with more than a third of the country’s nearly 81,000 deaths.
Cuomo said 195 New Yorkers died on Monday from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, up from 161 a day earlier but less than half the levels seen three weeks ago.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Leslie Adler)