NY Conference of Mayors Travel to Syracuse to Renew Calls for Federal Pandemic Aid
Many major New York ?cities, from Syracuse and Albany, to Hamilton and Ithaca are calling for more federal aid to get through the pandemic.? A dozen members of the New York Conference of Mayors gathered today at Syracuse City Hall to demand Washington stops bickering on aid for cities.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan was among them.
“Every time there’s a recession, or something like this pandemic happens, who gets hurt the most? Those who have the least,” Sheehan said.
Now is the worst time to be caught short, Sheehan says, as social unrest spreads across the country over civil rights and the upcoming election.
“When we have people demanding justice, when we have people who have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic, and then we look to cut funding that provides essential services to those very people, we pile on the inequity. It cannot stand.”
Sheehan added that Congress cannot bail out airlines and Fortune 500 companies while ignoring cities. Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said this shouldn’t be a partisan issue where the government is pitted against businesses.
“The choice is not: are we going to help cities or help our economy grow. By helping cities we help our economy grow. So don’t let them fool you, don't let them divide you, don't let them think you can either root for the private sector or root for your local governments. Neither of us will succeed unless we all succeed,” Myrick said.
Both Myrick and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh note that Syracuse Area congress member John Katko voted against a house aid package. But Katko, along with Utica-area rep Anthony Brindisi helped come up with a compromise that included aid for cities. Myrick said that approach is what’s needed.
“Recently Katko, who did vote against the stimulus, has said he would vote for a package that includes aids for cities and states. That kind of bipartisanship is what we need more of,” Myrick said. “Now why would a democrat say that a month before an election? Because I mean it, that kind of bipartisanship is what we need more of, so we should recognize it when we see it.”
Katko is running for re-election against Dana Balter, who also supports an immediate stimulus plan. Brindisi faces Claudia Tenney, who has stayed in line with Donald Trump. The President said in a tweet that all negotiations on any stimulus package should wait until after the election.
Mayor Walsh hosted the gathering and noted businesses rely on the city for essential services. He said that without federal assistance for cities, businesses can’t fully recover.