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Sen. Gillibrand Wants More Federal Relief for State and Local Budgets Reeling From COVID-19 Fallout

WAER file photo

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sought to reassure seniors Friday that she’s doing all she can to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on New York’s hospitals and residents. 

She joined an AARP telephone town hall where she said last week’s $2 trillion economic relief package only partially addresses the need:

"This is just the first down payment on this crisis.  It is not the last, I can assure you that.  This is our triage, basically, to help families, workers, and older americans handle this crisis."

The most money went to hospitals, though at least two in the Syracuse area say they're bleeding money by the day and are awaiting relief from the package. 

The rest went to people in the form of increased unemployment insurance, and one-time payments to middle and lower-income individuals and families.  Gillibrand says seniors who don’t file tax returns will also get the relief checks.  One caller expressed concerns about strained local government budgets.

"The next bill, hopefully we'll have more money for states and localities to help them with their budgets.  But I think this crisis will be longer and more difficult from a budgeting perspective than anyone can actually fully comprehend."

Meanwhile, Gillibrand says she’s working closely with Governor Cuomo, Senator Schumer, and New York’s Congressional delegation to better understand the needs of those on the front lines of the crisis so she can better advocate for them.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at