Schumer, Gillibrand reintroduce bill to help local governments

Regional News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are hoping to bring more relief to local governments.

Schumer and Gillibrand will reintroduce their Direct Support For Communities Act in the new Congress to deliver urgently needed relief for communities across New York State as part of a broader state and local fiscal relief fund. The bill would deliver resources to support essential services, and offset lost revenues and increased costs from the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of an overall pot of assistance for state and local fiscal relief. 

The additional funds would help the state avoid layoffs of essential public workers like teachers and firefighters.

“Local workers have been laid off to no fault of their own. Critical services are getting hurt and we know that we need the help,” Schumer said.

“Without this assistance state and local governments swill be forced to cut essential services when they are most needed or raise taxes when people can least afford it,” Gillibrand said.

Schumer said 41,000 New Yorkers have been laid off since the start of the pandemic.

Under the proposed bill, the local relief fund would be split 50/50, half committed to cities, towns and villages, and half committed to counties:

  • Of the portion allocated for cities, towns, and villages, 70% would go to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement communities using the CDBG formula through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to allocate the funding.  
  • The remaining 30% for cities, towns, and villages would be sent to states, which would be required to sub-allocate the entire amount within 30 days to all non-entitlement communities in the state based on population.
  • The portion of emergency fiscal assistance for counties would be allocated across all counties based on population. The exception to that formula is that a current CDBG entitlement county would receive its entitlement amount if it is higher than what that county would receive under an allocation based on population.

This proposed formula for local fiscal relief is intended to be incorporated into a larger legislative package that will also include fiscal relief for state and tribal governments; retroactive availability to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act for lost revenues; and other important matters.

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