Mayor joins with mayors in nation and New York and appeals to Congress

As negotiations continue in Washington on another round of federal stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is calling on lawmakers to include direct financial support to state and local governments. Mayor Walsh is working with the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM); another group of more than 70 mayors from across the United States; and Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon II on appeals for funding to offset revenue losses and growing expenses.

“Balancing the needs of a nation in the grip of a pandemic is unprecedented in modern history, so we know our federal representatives face an extraordinary challenge,” Mayor Walsh said. “In that environment, I want to make sure Washington fully understands how deeply COVID-19 is impacting people and governments in communities of all sizes. So far, direct aid has been limited to major cities, but that needs to be corrected in this round of legislation or people in Syracuse and other small and mid-sized cities will lose out.”

Today, Mayor Walsh joined a group of 71 mayors from cities coast to coast calling on the same congressional leaders to respond directly to the needs of local governments.

“As Mayors, we are on the front line of the pandemic response. We are taking the necessary steps to keep our communities safe by shuttering restaurants, bars and retail establishments; closing schools; and issuing shelter-in-place orders. These efforts to flatten the curve will undoubtedly save lives, but they also have a severe impact on city finances. Sales taxes, income taxes and user fees have dropped dramatically in localities across the country. We depend on these revenues to fund essential city services – services that are critical to protecting the health and safety of our citizens.”

Mayor Walsh and County Executive McMahon today co-signed a letter to U.S. Congressman John Katko (R-24th) making a call for funding to the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County.
“The City of Syracuse estimates that it will lose between $14.5 million to $20 million in revenue in fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Onondaga County is projecting a deficit of between $75 million and $150 million. The City and County have urgent need for federal financial assistance to offset rapidly falling revenues and rising municipal costs directly related to COVID-19.”

Congressman Katko, who Wednesday led efforts among House Republicans and Democrats in appealing for tax credits to municipalities to offset the cost of emergency paid sick and family leave, indicated today that he would continue advocating across party lines to ensure state and local governments are provided federal relief.

Mayor Walsh signed on April 13 to a joint letter to the members of the New York State federal delegation compiled by NYCOM.

“Approximately 283 million people live outside of the 36 cities that will receive direct funding from the CARES Act. NYCOM and our members strongly support the approach to rectifying this inequity as proposed in HR 6467, the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, which would provide a separate $250 billion stand-alone fund for COVID-19 related costs for communities with fewer than 500,000 residents.”

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