Guest Editorial by the New York State Association of Counties
After a year of fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, counties applaud the Senate's passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and encourages swift adoption by the House of Representatives, according to the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).
The package, passed (over the weekend), includes $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local and territorial governments, including $65 billion for counties, a restoration of $5 billion as championed by the Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. This emergency funding provides direct aid to counties, supporting the essential local government workers who have been on the front-line of the pandemic response.
An interim summary of the bill’s county impact can be found here.
“We commend our great Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and many members of the New York congressional delegation for fighting to ensure that our local governments get the help they deserve. This historic legislation supports the local heroes who have been fighting this pandemic on the front lines and also makes key investments in the future prosperity of our communities,” NYSAC President Jack Marren, chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors said.
“This is a victory for all of the counties in the state of New York and the residents we serve. In a time when so much of our politics is bitterly divided, county leaders from both ends of the political spectrum advocated for this package because it will help them help their communities recover from this pandemic,” NYSCEA President and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said.
“We acknowledge the leadership of Senator Schumer and the members of New York’s congressional delegation who supported our local governments throughout this pandemic. Without our Sen. Schumer, this package would not have included the federal assistance to counties and local governments. He has always been there for New Yorkers, and his resolve has only been strengthened during this this pandemic,” NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario said.
The American Rescue Plan includes $3.8 billion for the 57 counties ($2.2 billion) of New York state and New York City ($1.6 billion) based on population. New York City will receive another $4 billion through CDBG formula funding. This funding can be used to respond to the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus as well as address the economic devastation that came with it, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality. The funding may also be used to help governments provide services and make investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all the counties of New York State, including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC's mission is to represent, educate, serve and advocate for member counties and the elected and appointed county officials who serve the public. For more information, visit www.nysac.org.