Because of COVID crisis, schools & local gov'ts looking at a year of uncertain state aid figures
Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 1:00 pm

BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week

School districts and local governments will have challenging budget processes when factoring aid from the 2020-21 New York state budget.

At a press conference on Thursday, March 26, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they are going to periodically adjust their aid payments throughout the budget year based on how much money the state has actually taken in.

"There will be periods throughout the year where you say to school districts, local governments, etc. ‘This is what we received … these are the actual numbers so you can adjust your budget accordingly,’" Cuomo said.

He used the example "we intended to give you $100. We don't have $100, so we're going to give you $95. But I can only give you $95 if I get $95.”

This approach is because of the decrease in state revenues as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The governor said the state economy is getting a “double whammy.”

"You have increased expenses because of the COVID virus and you have tremendous loss of revenue because those businesses are closed and people are out of work,” he said. "We're spending more to take care of the COVID virus and we're receiving less. In the middle of this, we have to balance a budget."

Although they don’t know exactly how much the state will lose, initial estimates place it “somewhere in the range of $10 to $15 billion," according to Cuomo.

He said the federal stimulus package approved by Congress on Wednesday, March 25 "does absolutely nothing for us in terms of lost revenue to the state."

He said New York will get $5 billion to be spent specifically on pandemic expenses.

"Which is nice but the bigger problem is on the lost revenues,” Cuomo said. "Congressional action in my opinion simply failed to address the governmental need … I find it irresponsible. I find it reckless."

"This is an extraordinary time in this nation, and it's an extraordinary time for government … stop making excuses and just do your job."