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Stimulus Plan Seen as Boost to New York Businesses, Residents, but Lacking for Local Governments

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Both federal and local officials expect the just-approved stimulus plan to keep Central New York businesses open and provide some relief to local residents.  Senator Chuck Schumer estimates the bill will send about $54 billion in aid to New York State, though with one glaring omission.

“There’s all different kind of dollars.  Is it enough? No.  And the thing I most regret is (Mitch) McConnell blocked state and local aid.  We have found some other ways to get the localities some aid through education, transportation and vaccine distribution (assistance).”

That includes $5 billion to help New York schools, $4 billion for mass transit systems, and $1.3 billion in rental assistance that will all come through local governments.  Schumer adds the unemployment insurance extension will help one million New Yorkers who would have seen benefits dry up next week.  He says this is less a stimulus plan and more an emergency survival bill.

“Those who think that this bill is enough haven’t heard the desperation of a small business owner on the brink of ruin.  They haven’t seen a grandson or granddaughter say goodbye on Zoom.  So, there’s so much more to be done.”

He expects to revisit pandemic assistance shortly after Joe Biden is inaugurated President. 

Locally, Centerstate CEO is expecting the new aid package to save many businesses.  Public Policy Vice President Kevin Schwab is hearing from members how much it can help.

“Hopefully it will be the kind of thing that will get many of them across the finish line of the crisis.  There are things like expanded paycheck protection program, the return of the idle tax grants, whether it’s the return of the tax provisions, there are a number of things in there that we think will be beneficial for business.”

He calls the pandemic a tale of two economies...with some actually thriving, but others fighting for survival.

“Those industries that have been hit so hard we all know about. Retail, restaurants, hospitality, tourism, anything related to travel, they’re all being seriously impacted, and it could be a very long time for those industries to recover.”

Unemployment assistance and direct payments to people, he sees as ‘lifelines’ – especially for those with lower incomes.  Schwab recommends people research all the business and individual provisions, protections and tax advantages that are part of the package.  He adds the aid package is allowing some local business owners to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

“We are hearing some real optimism as we head into the new year.  There is a sense that by the time we get to summer or by the time we get to fall that most of this will be behind us and that there will be opportunity for the economy to recover.”

Schwab notes Centerstate just about every day gets calls from business owners looking for assistance and guidance.    

(source: Senator Schumer's office)


$5.8 Billion – Education Stabilization Fund

  • $4B – Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, provides relief to K-12 public schools across the State of New York.
  • $1.4B – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, directs funds to New York’s university system, like SUNY and CUNY.
  • $313M – Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, the governor can use these funds  at his discretion to support the state’s K-12 education and higher education needs related to COVID-19.

----Including a set aside that will be prioritized to private schools serving low-income students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic


$200 Million – Emergency Transit Relief will support county bus services and upstate transit agencies.


$426 Million - Critical aid to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to backstop declining revenues and support construction jobs.

$105.5 Million – Relief for New York airports to continue operating safely during the pandemic. Upstate airports will receive: $6.4M for the Hudson Valley, $6.5M for the Capital Region, $6.9M for Central New York, $4.8M for the Finger Lakes, $7.6M for Western New York, and $4.1M for the Southern Tier.



$1.6 Billion – Vaccine, Testing, and Tracing, and Flexible Local Health Funding. $810M for NYS and $810M for NYC

  • $135M for NYC for vaccine distribution
  • $135M for NYS for vaccine distribution
  • $675M for NYC testing, tracing, isolation support and COVID mitigation
  • $675M for NYS testing, tracing, isolation support and COVID mitigation


$1.3 Billion  -- Emergency Rental Assistance funding.  This is a historic and unprecedented federal emergency rental and utility assistance program.  It will assist multiple New York government entities and by extension help provide critical aid to keep thousands of New Yorkers safely in their homes.



The CDC federal eviction moratorium will also be extended until January 31, 2021, and can be extended further by the next administration.



 $465 Million – Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG) – These funds ensure that the child care sector will continue to assist essential workers and working families, and to support child care providers in meeting their increased operation costs during the pandemic.



$1 Billion--FEMA estimates that in Fiscal Year 2021 New York will receive about $1 billion in FEMA aid for COVID-19 alone. Schumer just negotiated an increase of these funds in this Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) account





Over $6.5 Billion for NY in Enhanced Unemployment Compensation – This bill provides billions in additional federal relief for struggling New Yorkers by extending the historic unemployment insurance reforms established in the CARES Act through March 14, 2021. Importantly, it reinstates the critical lifeline of the enhanced unemployment assistance, providing an additional $300 per week on top of all state and federal unemployment benefits. The bill also:

  • Extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment benefits to the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, part-time workers and other New Yorkers in non-traditional employment, and increases the number of weeks of PUA benefits an individual can claim from 39 to 50.
  • Provides 24 additional weeks of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits to New Yorkers who have exhausted their regular state benefits.
  • Continues the full federal financing of state Shared Work programs, allowing thousands of New York employers to keep their valued employees on payroll during this downturn.  
  • Delivers a federally-funded $100 per week additional “mixed-earner” benefit to New Yorkers who have a combination of traditional (W-2) and independent employment (1099) income and are disqualified from receiving PUA because they are still eligible for regular state benefits.

$9 Billion for New Yorkers – Direct cash payments to New Yorkers, including $600 for individuals making up to $75,000, $1,200 for couples making less than $150,000, and an additional $600 per child. This amounts to $2,400 for a family of (4).              


$260 Million  – FEMA’s funeral assistance – financial aid to those who have lost a loved one among the over 35,000 deaths in New York caused by COVID – which comes at no cost to the state. This historic use of FEMA’s funeral assistance program ensures those grappling with unspeakable loss are not also saddled with the financial burden of exorbitant funeral costs.



Over $20 Billion for  New York– Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide a second round of forgivable loans to New York small businesses, including restaurants, nonprofits and grant assistance to very small, underserved businesses and live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions, as well as:

  • New dedicated set-aside for PPP lending through Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, and other community lenders to reach minority-owned and other underserved small businesses and nonprofits.
  • New dedicated set-aside for very small businesses to gain greater access to PPP.    
  • New larger forgivable loans for the restaurant and hospitality industries and the ability to use funds for PPE, outdoor dining enhancements, and more.
  • “SAVE OUR STAGES” ($15B NATIONALLY) --Dedicated relief for Broadway, comedy halls, music venues, other live entertainment, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions—New York is positioned to get a large share of the $15 billion.
  • Housing cooperatives, tourism organizations, and local newspaper, TV and radio stations made eligible for PPP.
  • $10,000 SBA grants will be available for very small and underserved businesses in low-income communities.
  • Provides $3.5 billion to resume debt relief payments of principal and interest (P&I) on small business loans guaranteed by the SBA under the 7(a), 504 and microloan programs.
  • Includes $2 billion to enhance SBA’s core programs, including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and the Microloan program, by making them more affordable and useful to small businesses.
  • SBA Microloan Program is funded at $57 million to provide technical assistance and leverage about $64 million in microloans for minority-owned and other underserved small businesses.

The bill also extends and expands the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit. The extension of this tax credit, through July 1, 2021, will help keep thousands of additional New Yorkers on payroll and small and mid-size employers all across New York afloat.


$15 billion to renew the CARES Act Airline Payroll Support Program which will save thousands of New York airline jobs by keeping workers on payroll without furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until March 31, 2021 New York will receive sizable share of these funds.


$1 billion in CARES ACT Contractor Payroll Support Program will help thousands of New York’s aviation industry contractor workers keep their paychecks.



$7 billion-- Emergency Benefit for Broadband Service to provide free or low-cost broadband service to low-income families or those who have been recently laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New York will receive sizable share of these funds.



$7 billion-- Emergency Benefit for Broadband Service to provide free or low-cost broadband service to low-income families or those who have been recently laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New York will receive sizable share of these funds.



$1 billion to New York in support and relief for hospitals, mental health, community health centers and providers



$13 billion nationally in Nutrition Assistance (NY will get a sizable share), which includes:

  • A 15% increase in SNAP benefits from January 2021 through June 30, 2021 to support the nearly 2.8 million New Yorkers who receive benefits
  • Increased access to nutrition benefits by waiving college student work requirements
  • Provides $5 million to add additional retailers to online SNAP, including for farmers markets and direct to consumer sales
  • Additional funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to fund the continued work of New York’s food banks
  • Funding for senior nutrition through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and Meals on Wheels program
  • Includes critical improvements to the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program, which provides additional nutrition benefits for families with children who are eligible for free school lunches to help cover the cost of meals children would have otherwise received at school 
  • Allocates $4.6 billion nationally to expand P-EBT by extending the program to help cover cost of meals for kids enrolled in childcare programs
  • Nutrition assistance grants for Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Funds to support the food supply chain through food purchases, donations to food banks, and support for local food systems


$13 billion nationally in Agricultural Assistance (NY will get a sizable share), which includes:

  • $400 million set aside to support dairy product donations to encourage donations of dairy products and minimize food waste
  • $325 million set aside for specialty crops, including $225 million for supplemental payments to producers of specialty crops for losses in 2019 and $100 million for Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG) to support investments in specialty crop marketing, increasing training, and research investments
  • $100 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), which supports the development and expansion of local food businesses and markets, and helps increase consumer access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products
  • $28 million in state block grants to support farmer and rancher stress management and mental health


$300 million nationally in fisheries assistance, which includes:

  • $300 million available nationally for assistance to fisheries participants to help mitigate coronavirus-related economic impacts
  • $30 million set aside for Tribal fisheries of federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native groups
  • $15 million set aside for fishery participants in states bordering the Great Lakes


Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.