Coronavirus News: Newark mayor says city needs federal help to mitigate COVID-19 impact

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Thursday, April 23, 2020
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Toni Yates reports on a message from Newark's leadership about what they need to rebuild.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Newark Mayor Ras Baraka called on the federal government for assistance as it works to stop the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impact on the physical and financial health of residents.

"We need help," he said. "If we don't get help, we may have to look at furloughs of our city employees and possibly buyouts."

He said federal relief packages offered billions to large corporations and businesses but little to help medium-sized cities like Newark.

In the early stages of the pandemic, the city put in several of its own stimulus/aid packages to help residents. Baraka said those packages, and the additional burden on health, public safety and sanitation services have put a significant dent in the city budget.

The mayor said he was asking the federal delegation including Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, and Reps. Albio Sires and Donald Payne, Jr., to push legislation to get replacement funding for the city.

Baraka also reiterated his support for the legislation being introduced by Senator Menendez that would allocate $500 billion to state and local governments in all U.S. states and territories. It would prioritize funding to the hardest hit states, using a formula that considers state population, infection rates, and revenue loss and it would increase the flexible use of funding so it can be spent to plug unforeseen revenue gaps.

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