Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought his plea for more federal relief from the COVID-19 crisis to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Speaking at the National Press Club, the Democratic Governor said New York and other states hardest hit by the effects of the novel coronavirus also pay billions more dollars in taxes to the federal government than they get back.
And he called out leaders in red states, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who say “blue states” should not get any more money.
“That’s a lie, they know that they take more money,” Cuomo said. “Senator McConnell has his hand out in the Senate, and he receives more money for his state than he puts in.”
“Why should my state give a hand out to Senator Scott every year?" Cuomo continued. “When they make it person to New York, and they are lying, I’m going to point it out.”
New York is facing a $13 billion deficit due in part to a steep drop in revenues when the economy shutdown to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Scott, in a statement, said it’s Cuomo who is telling a “lie" about donor states and taker states to “distract from his failings as Governor." Scott said he won’t use a health crisis to spend taxpayer money to “bail out poorly run states” like New York, and he accused Cuomo of “reckless, irresponsible fiscal management." Scott also said Congress has already approved over a trillion dollars in federal relief to states and local governments dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier, Cuomo met with President Donald Trump. The governor said the two avoided politics, and that he made the case for increased federal funding on infrastructure that he says will “supercharge” the economy.
“It was a good conversation,” Cuomo said. “The President is from New York so he has a context for all of the things we are talking about.”
Projects include the long-stalled gateway tunnel project that would replace deteriorating train tracks under the Hudson River from New York to New Jersey, linking the Northeast with the Southern United States.
Trump has opposed federal funding for the project, which would also benefit Amtrak, in the past. Cuomo also wants federal funding to expand the Second Avenue subway to Harlem.
The governor did not say whether Trump made any commitments to fund the projects.