WXXI AM News

Cuomo says Trump's unemployment plan is an "impossibility" 

Aug 9, 2020

Credit Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York doesn’t have enough money in its budget to meet a requirement in President Donald Trump’s executive order to fund $100-a-week in additional unemployment benefits.

Trump issued the executive order on Saturday. It would give unemployed Americans $400 in additional payments a week, less than the $600-a-week that expired July 31.

States, however, would have to finance one quarter of the weekly $400 payments. Trump told reporters that states have the money to do that.

Cuomo, speaking in a conference call with media, called the proposal “laughable”, saying that with the state facing a $14 billion deficit, New York does not the resources.

“It’s just an impossibility,”  said Cuomo, who said the plan would cost the state $4 billion.

Cuomo and several other governors, both Democrat and Republican, have been asking the federal government for more aid to make up for revenue plunges due to pandemic related economic shut downs. So far the two parties in  Congress have not been able to agree on a package.

The governor also addressed some confusion that has come up since he announced on Friday that schools in New York can reopen for the 2020-21 school year. Cuomo said each school district must hold three online forums with parents by late August.  The state’s largest city school districts must have five meetings with parents with one solely to address the concerns of teachers.  

The New York State Council of Schools Superintendents, among others, says schools have already met with parents as part of re-opening guidelines established by the State Education Department and had already planned to hold more meetings.

Cuomo says schools will need to meet the requirements he set out. He says without more communication, there is a real possibility that many parents may opt to keep their children home, learning remotely, for the school year.

“And you're not going to get them back just because the school district says ‘this is what we are going to do,’ ” said Cuomo, who said parents and teachers have “real issues and real concerns”.  

The governor spoke on a day when the virus rate continued to be low across the state. Of 65,812 tests conducted Sunday, 0.78% were positive, the lowest rate since the state began keeping track in the winter. Seven people died of COVID-19 Sunday, 548 remain in the hospital with the virus, and 131 New Yorkers in ICUs is also the lowest number since the state began keeping count.

State police and the State Liquor Authority visited 2,294 bars and restaurants downstate, and issued 60 tickets for violations of COVID-19 safety precaution rules.