Republican lawmakers in the state Senate sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, urging him to approve scheduled pay raises for essential state employees.
The state is delaying a 2 percent pay hike for 80,000 state workers for at least 90 days as the state’s tax revenue has run dry during the pandemic.
This sparked criticism from labor unions, who pointed to their vast network of front line workers during this pandemic.
In the letter, Senate Republicans urged Cuomo to exempt essential workers from the pay raise freeze writing, "We hope you will agree that New York needs to put actions of support behind our words of support for the state’s essential workforce working daily on our behalf.”
These essential workers include correction officers, law enforcement offices and public hospital staff.
Cuomo defended his decision last week saying that there were only two choices: delay pay raises or lay people off.
"You can buy some time with freezing the raises to state workers," Cuomo said. "I choose option B, rather than laying off people, which will only add to add the unemployment claims, the stress, the hardship."
Delaying these pay raises will save the state around $50 million.
New York is funneling resources into battling the coronavirus, businesses have closed their doors, and people across the state are being laid off, widening the divide between money New York is spending compared to what it is receiving.
Depending on when businesses are allowed to reopen, the state's fiscal situation is uncertain.
New York could be facing a $15 billion revenue that will likely need federal assistant to fill.