Al­bany cold to Blaz $5B bor­row plan

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY DE­NIS SLAT­TERY AND MOR­GAN CHITTUM

AL­BANY — State law­mak­ers and Gov. Cuomo re­main skep­ti­cal of Mayor de Bla­sio’s re­quest to bor­row bil­lions to help al­le­vi­ate the city’s fiscal fall­out from the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Cuomo and a Se­nate Demo­cratic spokesman both cast doubt Mon­day on de Bla­sio’s plan to bor­row $5 bil­lion, say­ing the pro­posal lacked de­tails and failed to ad­dress con­cerns of leg­is­la­tors.

“He did not even at­tempt to do so un­til the last few days and many of those con­cerns still re­main,” Se­nate Dem spokesman Mike Mur­phy said. “We are not against a bor­row­ing plan that makes sense, but re­main con­cerned that the mayor be­gan ask­ing for $7 bil­lion, then dropped his re­quest to $5 bil­lion, all to close a $1.6 bil­lion gap.”

De Bla­sio, who has said the $5 bil­lion would be stretched out over two years, needs Al­bany’s help be­cause un­der state law the city is pro­hib­ited from fund­ing its op­er­at­ing ex­penses with bor­rowed money.

The Leg­is­la­ture would have to pass a new law to al­low the bor­row­ing, and Cuomo would have to give his ap­proval.

State law­mak­ers, who ap­proved $11 bil­lion in short-term loans for state gov­ern­ment back in April, did not vote on de Bla­sio’s ear­lier $7 bil­lion re­quest.

“I have not got­ten a co­her­ent an­swer as to why it’s just not the right thing to do,” de Bla­sio said. “Aus­ter­ity is never the way to go.”

The mayor, call­ing for unity, ap­plauded the As­sem­bly for get­ting on­board with his pro­posal early on and said he hopes the Se­nate fol­lows suit.

“Look, we are the en­gine of the en­tire state econ­omy,” he said.

“We are where the rev­enue for New York State comes from. I think this should be an all-forone, one-for-all mo­ment here.”

Cuomo, mean­while, has re­peat­edly ex­pressed con­cerns about al­low­ing the city to bor­row funds to cover op­er­at­ing ex­penses, which would in­clude salaries for cops, teach­ers and other es­sen­tial work­ers.

He said many eco­nomic ques­tions re­main unan­swered.

“What is the loan? How do you pay it back? What is fis­cally re­spon­si­ble?” he said.

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