The coronavirus pandemic will cost New York City a projected $7.4 billion in lost tax revenue over the current and next fiscal year after the city shuttered businesses and ordered people to stay indoors to try to contain the outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
“That’s today’s estimate. We don’t know what the future brings, but that’s what we know right now and that’s a horrifying figure,” de Blasio said at a press conference.
De Blasio urged Washington lawmakers to approve $500 billion in spending in the next stimulus bill with at least $150 billion of that going toward states, cities and local municipalities. That would help plug holes in budgets devastated by the government quarantines and help fund needed services, including police, fire and emergency response.
De Blasio said Congress should direct $100 billion to hospitals and health-care workers and $250 billion to small businesses and paycheck protection for workers.
“The federal government was very quick to bail out the banks a decade ago no questions asked. The federal government was very quick to bail out the auto industry,” de Blasio said. “How about bailing out the nation’s largest city? How about bailing out the epicenter of this crisis where people are suffering?”
Without federal aid, the city may be forced to make “horrible choices,” including laying off municipal employees as a “last resort,” he said.
“There’s just no way to make up for this level of lost revenue, which has happened almost overnight, because of a global crisis we’ve never seen the likes of in history,” he said. He said the city needs federal aid to continue providing basic services to New Yorkers.
President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion relief package in late March that strengthened unemployment insurance and included one-time payments to individuals, additional health-care funding and loans and grants to businesses to deter layoffs.
De Blasio said only $1.4 billion of that funding was directed to New York City. In comparison, he said the airline industry was awarded approximately $58 billion. Negotiations are under way in Washington for the next round of stimulus funding that will focus on small businesses and paycheck protection.
“For New York City to be able to provide basic services to people and participate in the recovery, we must have that stimulus money or else we’re going to have to make horrible choices going forward,” de Blasio said.
The Democratic mayor said he spoke to Trump on Wednesday to discuss the city’s budget problem and urged him to “speak up.”
The coronavirus has infected more than 118,300 people in New York City, including 10,899 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The New York metropolitan area is suffering from the worst outbreak in the U.S.
“Everyone wants a restart. Everyone wants our economy to recover,” de Blasio said. “But there has to be a really clear understanding, if we can’t provide the basics for our people, then you can kiss your recovery goodbye.”