De Blasio warns ‘billions upon billions’ in losses amid lockdown, pleads for relief from feds

 De Blasio warns ‘billions upon billions’ in losses amid lockdown, pleads for relief from feds

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is begging for financial help from Washington, D.C. and his own state in the wake of a multibillion-dollar deficit.

The Democrat announced the emergency on Wednesday, revealing the city’s shortfall amid the coronavirus pandemic, warning that assistance was needed in order to keep the city functioning and suggesting he may have to borrow the money to get out of the hole.

(Image: NBC News screenshot)

“We are now $9 billion in the hole between the current fiscal year and the one that begins July 1,” de Blasio said during his daily coronavirus briefing from City Hall, revising a previous estimate that New York City would see $7.4 billion in losses due to the pandemic.

“We have lost billions upon billions of dollars of revenue that we use to serve our people. It’s gone. It’s not coming back,” he added.

The mayor and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo are apparently looking to Washington to solve their problems, even while blaming President Donald Trump for problems of their own making as they continue lockdown orders that keep the Empire State from getting back to work.

“The only way to possibly keep this city functioning and keep the services provided, keep people on our payroll, is if we get a really substantial stimulus program from Washington,” de Blasio said, adding that “we don’t know when that’s going to be right now.”

“They have not scheduled to vote in the Senate. We don’t know what it’s going to look like. And meanwhile, we have a budget due on June 30 by law,” he said, apparently ignoring the fact that he can decide to lift restrictions and allow people to get back to work.

“This week I asked the state of New York for help. I asked the state of New York to give us a fallback, give us a safety net,” de Blasio continued. “It’s something we need as a last resort if our federal government isn’t there for us, if we’re going to maintain basic services here in the city.”

The financial crisis of the 1970s put an end to New York City’s ability to borrow funds and Cuomo appeared to quickly squash that idea from de Blasio, who has continued to resist budget cuts and layoffs. New York became the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the nation with more than 29,000 deaths attributed to the disease and more than 16,400 of them just in New York City.

“There is literally no way that we can solve this problem without federal help or without having to make very, very painful choices that will affect the quality of life in this city, our ability to provide basic services and how many people we’re able to employ to support you in the middle of a pandemic,” de Blasio said.

Both the mayor and governor have not indicated when the city and state will fully reopen. As Cuomo has allowed for some restrictions to be lifted in areas, in New York City de Blasio said it “can be a matter of months” before current lockdowns are lifted.

New York City’s Democratic city comptroller, who is running to succeed de Blasio, slammed the mayor’s request to borrow money, urging “extreme caution.”

“While it’s too soon to rule out any specific budget action, New Yorkers should know that under the mayor’s proposal our children could be paying over $500 million a year for the next 20 years,” Scott Stringer said, according to Politico.

A coalition of 300 small businesses has announced they plan to reopen with or without the mayor’s blessing. De Blasio fired back with threats.

“Anybody who reopens in defiance with orders of course we’re going to enforce and if we have to we’ll do summonses, get a commissioner’s order and the place will not be allowed to reopen in any way shape or form,” he said.

“If people jump the gun and don’t follow the rules that’s the best way to guarantee we don’t get to our reopening,” the Democrat added. “We’re going to enforce it and we’re going to enforce it aggressively.”

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
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Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.

Frieda Powers

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