SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon tweeted Sunday night that the reported elimination of state and local funding in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s coronavirus relief bill, as reported by Axios, “is a joke.”
McMahon tagged McConnell’s Twitter account and added: “there is still time to get this right.”
Sunday night, Axios reported details of what its sources say is in McConnell’s plan: “There will not be additional money for state and local governments. But Republicans want to ease previous guidelines for how states can spend the leftover money appropriated in the CARES Act to ensure money gets to smaller localities.”
Onondaga County got no money in the previous stimulus bill because it fell short of the required population of 500,000 people. Nearby Monroe County got $129 million, enough to give its health staff hazard pay.
If McConnell isn’t planning state and local funding, he didn’t inform his counterpart on the Democratic side, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
In Oswego County last week, Schumer said, “New York State will get a generous amount: $37 billion. Then another $32 billion that goes directly to localities. Not only will Onondaga get direct money, so will the City of Syracuse, so will the Town of Manlius.”
McMahon has been a staunch advocate for more state and local funding in future relief bills to help Onondaga County make up for the nearly $100 million it planned on but lost due to the pandemic.
Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse are both majorly funded by sales tax at car dealerships, restaurants, and stores, all of which took a major hit when the pandemic shut down the economy.
Passed by the legislature, Onondaga County will begin the common and state-approved practice of taxing energy purchases on homeowners to help offset some of the losses. The energy tax helped delay 200 possibly layoffs, which may not need to happen if funding comes through.
At a briefing earlier this month, Mayor Ben Walsh said, “Without that federal aid, it is going to be devastating on the city of Syracuse. More importantly, on the people of the city of Syracuse, those we serve.”