Coronavirus News: Long Island officials plead for COVID-19 relief funds

COVID-19 News and Information
LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Long Island officials are asking for funding help in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The human toll from COVID-19 in the tri-state area has been unimaginable. But now, so is the financial toll.

On Wednesday both Democrats and Republicans from Long Island were unusually united in their efforts to plead with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to act on legislation approved in the House two months ago.

The "Heroes Act" would bring billions of dollars in local aid to states with the highest COVID-19 infection rates. States like New York.

"Our school districts are freaking out! We're going through this big debate right now, are we gonna open? Are we not gonna open? What's the safe way to do do it? What's the not safe way to do it? If they don't get their state aid, we're crushed," Congressman Thomas Suozzi said.

Not to mention the free-fall in sales tax revenue for Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as malls and businesses were shut down for months.

"Counties are on life support and the only prescription is federal disaster assistance," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.

But as coronavirus relief has become a partisan issue, some in Washington have called these requests a blue-state bailout.

To that, they say New York taxpayers are the ones doing all the bailing out, sending billions more in income tax to Washington, than they ever receive back.

And this was the epicenter of the virus, so who stands to suffer now?

"That's the kind of perfect storm that puts kids back out on into the street, that closes counseling centers, both real time and virtual," said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President and CEO of the Family and Children's Association.

Republican Congressman Peter King says that now the virus is hitting so many so-called red-states, it may cause people to be more realistic and honest.

As the virus crosses state lines and party lines, the hope is that it kills the gridlock, as well.

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