With New York State revenues projected to decline by approximately $13.3 billion dollars this year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo dared Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to sign a bill allowing states to declare for bankruptcy.
McConnell (R-Kentucky) had said that states facing budget crises due to the pandemic should declare bankruptcy, a notion that Cuomo called “one of the really dumb ideas of all time.”
During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Friday, April 24, Cuomo doubled down, daring McConnell and the Senate to pass a bill allowing states to declare bankruptcy.
“New York State was not in trouble before this happened," Cuomo said. "The economy was growing at a very high rate, and the government was spending at record lows. Our taxes today are lower than the day I took office across the board."
Cuomo said that between 2021 and 2024, the state is projecting it will lose another $61 billion due to the pandemic.
“We would need a federal law to allow states to declare bankruptcy," Cuomo said. "So go pass a law allowing states to declare bankruptcy and see if the president signs that bill/
"You want to send a signal to the markets that our nation is in real trouble? You want to send an international message that the nation is in turmoil? Then (sign that bill).
“It would be the first time in our nation’s history that this happened. I dare you to do it and see how many states take you up on it. I know I wouldn’t.
“If you have the courage of conviction, then pass that bill if you’re not just playing politics.”
Cuomo noted that New York provides the most money to the “federal pot” each year, while Kentucky has been taking the third most.
Said Cuomo: “You say you’re bailing out New York? You’re not bailing out New York, New York has bailed you out every year. Mitch McConnell is a taker, not a giver, while New York is a state of givers that puts more money in the federal pot each year.
“This is America. You put in what you can, and the states that need it take it. So for every year New York was the number one donor state. You say you’re bailing us out … I’m just asking for my money back, Mr. Senator.”
Cuomo went on to call McConnell's bankruptcy "the most Un-American, uncharitable, ugly statement of all time." (See video above.)
Cuomo also said that while the state transitions into the “new normal,” the pandemic presents an opportunity to see how it can move forward and be more efficient in healthcare, education, transportation, and other fronts.
“When we reopen, we’re not just reopening what was. We’ve gone through this horrific experience, but it should be a period of growth and reflections,” he said. “We went through 9/11 and were smarter for it. We went through World War II and were better for it. We survived superstorm Sandy and learned, grew, and were better for it.
“People have changed their lifestyles. So we have to learn and look ahead and see what changes we can make.”
Cuomo also said he will issue an executive order that would send all registered New York state voters a postage-paid absentee ballot application for the state's upcoming primary elections in June.
There were 422 deaths in New York, bringing the total to 16,162 since the first patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 1. The hospitalization and intubation rate continue to drop statewide, though there were 1,296 new hospitalizations for the virus.
“The question now is how fast and how low is the decline, that will be the variable on what we do moving forward,” Cuomo said. “If you just say ‘let’s reopen tomorrow,’ all the progress we’ve made could be gone. This is a remarkable virus in spreading and growing, and attacking our most vulnerable.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.