Albany cold to Blaz $5B borrow plan
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.