WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES NOVEMBER 5, 2020 13
Put politics aside — New York City needs help
BY DAVID WEPRIN
New York City needs help.
It’s as simple as that.
Seven months into the
coronavirus pandemic, where
New York’s outbreak eclipsed
others around the world, we’ve
come back from the height of
one of the worst public health
crises we’ve ever experienced,
but we’re still staring down the
brink of economic disaster.
Aft er almost a decade of economic
recovery following the
2008 fi nancial crisis, New York
now needs federal assistance to
off set the massive losses from
the coronavirus and help it recover
from its worst economic
crisis in nearly half a century.
As of now, New York City has
the highest unemployment rate
in the state, currently at 16.3
percent, which is up more than
12 percent from last year; $9
billion in lost revenue; and a historic
vacancy rate of 5 percent in
Manhattan, among many other
troubling economic indicators.
The federal government must
label New York City for what it
is: America’s economic engine.
We’re the nation’s fi nancial and
cultural capital. The New York
City metro area accounts for
almost 10 percent of the U.S. GDP.
That’s more than most countries
and yet, the federal government
wants to withhold critical funds,
putting our education, social
services and public safety at
If New York City fares poorly
fi nancially, so does the rest of
the country. New York City puts
more money into the federal pot
every year than any other state.
Federal economic assistance
wouldn’t be a bailout as some
have suggested; it would be
ensuring the economic health
of the nation.
While state policymakers debate
whether to raise state taxes
on the rich to help minimize cuts
to spending on vital services, it
appears Governor Cuomo is
resisting those calls. So, without
that infl ux of funds, and without
any increase in revenue from
Albany, the federal government
— which has the ability to print
money on demand — is the only
partner we can turn to.
And to give just a small glimpse
into what the fi nancial future of
our city looks like without any
federal support, here are two
examples: The restaurant industry,
once the lifeblood of our city
— bringing in nearly $27 billion
in taxable sales — could see half
of its restaurants and bars close
for good. The tourism industry
is also reeling, with a projected
loss of at least $1.5 billion in all
taxable tourism sales for 2021.
Despite all of this, negotiations
over a stronger COVID-relief
package are stalled, with the
impasse likely to remain aft er
Election Day. Plus, a “skinny”
stimulus bill introduced by
Republicans failed to pass the
Senate. But even if it had passed,
it didn’t include any new money
for state or local governments.
Not only that, the federal
relief that has been doled out
has not been equal, with small
businesses in majority-Black,
majority-Hispanic and majority-
Asian and South Asian neighborhoods
receiving PPP loans more
slowly than small businesses in
I represent one of the most diverse
districts in the New York
State Assembly. I know these
small business owners and I see
We don’t want to have to relive
our history. It was bad in the
1970s, it was bad aft er the Sept. 11
attacks and it was bad aft er the
2008 fi nancial crisis. It’s bad now.
But it can and will get better.
It’s time for federal lawmakers
to put aside the putrid politics
dominating Washington and
step up and aid New York City.
Helping us will help the rest of
the nation on its path to economic
David Weprin represents part
of Queens in the state Assembly.
He is a candidate for New York
City Comptroller and a member
of the Committee on Ways and
Means, former Chairman of the
NYC Council’s Finance Committee
and served as the Deputy
Superintendent of Banks and
Secretary of the Banking Board for
New York State under Governor
AUTUMN IN CUNNINGHAM PARK
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