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PO - Calarco - PR

Posted on: July 23, 2020

Legislators Join U.S. Senator Urging Federal Support for Municipalities

Lawmakers stand around a podium in front of a fire department.

NORTH BABYLON, N.Y. – Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Rob Calarco and his colleagues joined U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in North Babylon on July 20 to urge the federal government to support municipalities in the next coronavirus stimulus bill.

Presiding Officer Calarco joined Senator Gillibrand at the North Babylon Fire Department in calling for the speedy passage of legislation to provide direct federal relief to local governments, which are suffering unprecedented revenue shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act in May, and the U.S. Senate is currently negotiating the provisions.

Presiding Officer Calarco said this relief is critical to helping local governments pay for ongoing COVID-19 response efforts and supportive services for residents during these challenging times.

“Suffolk County cannot on its own close the monumental budget gap caused by the months-long economic shutdown,” said Presiding Officer Calarco. “Our employees are the ones on the frontlines getting people the help they need, and we are going to continue to see increased demand for vital social services as the effects of unemployment, from food insecurity to the need for housing assistance, take hold. If the federal government does not step in, we will be faced with a detrimental impact on county services at a time when residents need them the most. I am confident that Senators Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are going to deliver results for us, and I thank them for their continued advocacy for our region.”

“State and local governments are doing everything they can to respond to the health and economic crises this pandemic has created. They cannot do it alone,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Federal aid will help save jobs and services we fundamentally, and economically, cannot afford to lose. Direct federal relief for local governments is absolutely critical for communities across the state to recover and I will continue working to include this critical funding in the next economic relief package. Long Islanders cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Joining the Senator and the Presiding Officer were Suffolk County Legislators Kevin McCaffrey, Jason Richberg, Susan A. Berland and Tom Donnelly as well as officials from Babylon, Islip and Riverhead towns.

14th District Legislator Kevin McCaffrey added: “I was proud to stand with my colleagues in county and town government to show bipartisan support for federal financial assistance to local governments during these unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the revenue streams of every level of government. Federal intervention is needed to prevent a severe disruption of services including the protection of health and safety.”

15th District Legislator Jason Richberg said: “I was proud to stand with Senator Gillibrand to call on Congress to pass the HEROES Act. State and local governments employ nearly one-fifth of our state’s workforce. We have been on the frontlines of this crisis since day one and made huge sacrifices in shutting down businesses, which represent the majority of our revenue. If you can bail out a corporation, you can bail out a government.”

16th District Legislator Susan A. Berland added: “These unprecedented times call for unprecedented action. The federal government is uniquely able to provide the necessary funding included in the HEROES Act to assist Suffolk County residents, who have been so profoundly affected by this pandemic, and to help close the budget deficit that our County government faces. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for her advocacy for the passage of the HEROES Act and her efforts to provide much needed assistance to the residents of Suffolk County.”

17th District Legislator Tom Donnelly said: “The impact of this crisis on the health and economic well-being of our residents and communities has been absolutely devastating. As we face uncertainty regarding when it will end, people and businesses need continued support and relief, and they need it now. I was proud to stand with Senator Gillibrand in urging the U.S. Senate to provide critical assistance by taking immediate action on the HEROES Act.”

Caption for above photo: Presiding Officer Rob Calarco, at the podium, stands with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and local officials on July 20 in North Babylon to call for the passage of federal legislation to provide financial relief to local governments. Joining the Senator and the Presiding Officer were Suffolk County Legislators Kevin McCaffrey, Jason Richberg, Susan A. Berland, and Tom Donnelly as well as town officials from Babylon, Islip and Riverhead.

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