Cuomo, Whitmer push toward direct purchase of COVID-19 vaccines

Joanna Estrada
January 20, 2021

The caveat? If Congress does not send what the governor outlined as his best case scenario - $15 billion in unrestricted emergency COVID-19 aid - he will sue.

The proposed budget, which includes a temporary tax hike for the richest New Yorkers, relies on $6 billion in coronavirus aid as part of President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 aid package.

"I sent a letter to Pfzier, which is a private company headquartered in NY, asking them if NY can buy from them directly", Cuomo said.

The New York Budget must be passed by April 1 or there will be no raises for anyone working in state government, according to Cuomo. The state is now staring down a massive, "unmanageable" budget deficit of $15 billion, the governor said.

If the state doesn't receive enough to cover its $15 billion budget gap due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NY may need to raise taxes and make cuts to services around the state, Cuomo warned.

It would mean almost $10 billion in cuts if that occurred.

"We have a responsibility to ensure our recovery and that this recovery is not balanced on the backs of the hard hit New Yorkers".

Cuomo has criticized the federal government, particularly President Donald Trump and Republican members of Congress, for the failure to pass state and local aid without stipulations attached.

Cuomo has often criticized Trump's administration for using NY as a "political pinata".

The governor is hoping Congress will send as much as $15 billion to NY, where more than 33,000 people have died from the virus.

The former would be what Cuomo is calling the "worst case scenario".

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated full deductibility of state and local taxes and capped those deductions at $10,000.

The governor said if Congress and the Biden administration do not give NY what it needs to avoid drastic cuts, he will pursue litigation. "Despite the federal government opening up the floodgates of eligibility while decreasing the supply of vaccines, one million eligible New Yorkers and all nursing home residents and staff who wanted the vaccine have already been inoculated with the first dose".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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