Orange County Partnership - News

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a COVID-19 briefing held earlier this week.

Three Upstate Regions Likely to Begin Reopening on Friday; Heroes Act Would Provide $500B to States

Earlier this week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his daily COVID-19 briefing gave a preview of the likely regions that will be allowed to start a phased re-opening of their economies, noting that the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions have met all the necessary metrics to allow the process to begin there on Friday.


At press time, the governor is expected to extend his “New York on Pause” restrictions for other regions in New York State, including the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. Just shy of meeting the necessary guidelines to reopen are Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. Currently, the Mid-Hudson is not meeting two key metrics for reopening—a 14-day decline in hospital deaths and the number of new hospitalizations, according to the state’s dashboard.


The governor did have some good news for Orange County on Wednesday when he announced that Orange County was one of 12 additional counties that are now allowed to conduct elective surgeries.


The governor will allow the low-risk business and recreational activities, including landscaping/gardening, recreational, such as tennis, and drive-in-theaters—to commence operations statewide beginning on Friday, May 15, as well.


He also established regional control rooms that will be charged with monitoring the region’s compliance with COVID-19 metrics and if necessary implement shutdowns until metrics are once again met. Total hospitalizations, the number of intubations and the number of deaths registered from COVID-19 all declined on Sunday, May 10th. The governor reported there were 166 people who died from the Coronavirus in the state on Tuesday, down sharply from 195 fatalities the day before.


Democrats in House Propose $3-Trillion COVID Aid Package


On Tuesday, U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) announced a proposal to provide direct relief to state, county, and local governments to help them recover from lost revenue and unexpected costs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. New York State is facing a $61-billion deficit.


The measure is part of the $3-trillion coronavirus relief legislation, H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act, which Chairwoman Lowey introduced to support the continued Coronavirus response and recovery. If enacted, the Democrats’ spending package would provide an estimated $34.4 billion in relief funds for New York State, $17.2 billion for New York City, and $15.1 billion for other municipalities and counties in New York.


Overall, the Heroes Act will provide $500 billion for states, including $250 billion awarded within 30 days of passage and the remaining $250 billion by May 3, 2021. Localities would be provided $375 billion, including $250 billion within 30 days of the bill’s enactment.


 “As the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York has acted aggressively and responsibly to protect the entire nation at a very high cost to our state and our communities. Expenses to protect families have skyrocketed while revenues have dried up due to job loss and stay at home orders. This vital aid is absolutely necessary to protect essential health, public safety, education, and other jobs and services in state and local governments and to mitigate an unimaginable economic impact from this pandemic,” said Chairwoman Nita Lowey.


“Our state, county and local governments have ratcheted up their spending to confront the COVID challenge, even while the virus has ripped a hole in their budgets due to collapsing revenue. Providing urgent relief to state, county and local governments is not an abstract concept—it is keeping cops, firefighters, bus drivers and more on the job; it is preserving vital services during a pandemic; and it is staving off tax hikes at the worst possible time for the economy,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.


The Heroes Act would also repeal the SALT cap that was imposed with the passage of the 2017 Tax Act. The measure imposed a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, which has been harmful to higher cost states, including New York.


In addition to $67 billion in new funding for governments in New York State, the relief package would allow the use of new and prior Coronavirus Relief funds to replace lost revenue, a high priority for New York. Combined with $5.2 billion in relief funds for New York in the CARES Act, this bill would provide the state nearly $40 billion to help cover lost revenues and expenses due to coronavirus.


The legislation follows the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act enacted on April 24; The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted on March 18; and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act enacted on March 6.