Governor Andrew Cuomo criticized the most recent federal stimulus bill that was passed in the Senate, saying it failed to provide direct funding for the state. Congress is again promising future funding, but by then Cuomo says, it might be too late.
“I can’t do a budget on don’t worry next time,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo is warning of major cuts to schools, hospitals, and local governments. Stephen Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties, says local governments do not have the resources to deal with any cuts to funding.
“It’s unsustainable. It would devastate local governments,” Acquario explained.
Cuts to local governments would mean layoffs to the workforce and postponing road construction projects.
“We’re going to have to lay off workers. No one wants to lay off workers,” Acquario said. “We need workers to help deliver public services, but without the funding and the longer that this goes, we’re going to see more and more 10 to 20 counties begin to furlough and lay off the public workforce.”
Also, there is a state law that requires local governments to make school districts whole on delinquent property taxes. This is money, Acquario says, local governments just do not have right now.
“We’ve asked the governor if he could suspend that law and give us a little bit more time to make those payments to school districts,” Acquario explained. “This is a very serious issue, a very serious cash-flow problem.”
Acquario says local governments know they will be one of the first to see funding cuts and they are doing their best to prepare.