NEW YORKERS URGE FAIR FEDERAL AID TO CITY
Hosted by Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney (NY) and Jerrold Nadler (NY), the event featured State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Denis Hughes, President of the New York State AFL-CIO, Kenneth E. Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association, representatives from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Association, UNITE Local 23-25, numerous small business owners, and individual residents of New York affected by the tragedy.
"The World Trade Center is still burning, but the federal government is already wavering on its $20 billion commitment to help New York," said Rep. Maloney. "Parents and businesses are deciding to stay or leave New York right now, and the city's future hangs in the balance. At such a critical time, we shouldn't have to fight so hard for money that's already been pledged."
Following September 11, President Bush signed a measure approving $40 billion in disaster relief and military spending. Twenty billion was specified for disaster-recovery activities and assistance to affected areas, of which the vast majority was to go directly to helping New York. New Yorkers were deeply troubled, however, when the Bush administration provided only $9.8 billion of these funds in its "Total Aid to New York" release. With pressure from a bipartisan group of New York Congressmembers, the administration committed an additional line of funds - bringing the total aid to $11 billion, but this is still far short of the original aid pledged and appropriated by Congress.
"This city, which has given so much to our nation, has suffered a staggering loss of life and property," said Speaker Silver. "We have lost 100,000 jobs. Communities have been decimated. Residents and business owners alike are losing faith that Washington will come through with the funding that is essential to rebuilding New York. We need that federal assistance now."
While the Bush administration continues to promise that additional funds will be provided later, the coalition's message today was that aid is needed now, for specific losses and urgent unmet needs. In particular, the coalition detailed the following costs incurred as a result of disaster:
For the Board of Education:
*$108 million dollars to make up lost classroom time for students in and around the frozen zone.
*$6.1 million in reimbursement for lost revenue for school food services caused by low attendance after September 11.
*$13.4 million for reimbursement for additional school-related expenses, including transportation, security measures, data infrastructure and other critical support services.
For New York's hospitals:
*$140 million for losses resulting from activation of disaster assistance plans on and after September 11, including preparation for mass casualties, cancellation of all non-urgent surgeries, closed services and clinics, set-up of new operating rooms, blood collection, an other services.
For New York's working men and women:
*$881 million for more than 100,000 working people who are projected to lose jobs as a result of the attacks. Unemployed workers face quadrupled health insurance costs and the daunting task of finding new work in a severe recession. This aid would help fund 26 weeks of unemployment for those who lost jobs as a result of the attacks, with extended benefits while New York's economy recovers. Assistance for health care coverage through Medicaid and COBRA health insurance would be an additional $1 billion.
For New York's small businesses:
*$900 million for economic development and small businesses below 14th Street also need help. City businesses should not be lost as a result of an attack on the nation, while the federal government refuses additional aid.
"Job losses and rebuilding costs combined with capitol damages and weakened economic output bring the total projected loss for the city to over $100 billion," said Rep, Maloney. "The $11 billion allocated so far by the Bush administration is simply not enough to meet the urgent needs of the city's businesses, schools, hospitals, and unemployed workers. While more aid is promised in future years, New York needs the money now to quell economic disaster. The voices of New York today should make clear to many in Washington that New York is in real and urgent need for greater assistance."
At a second event in Washington D.C., hosted by Maloney and Nadler, Senators Schumer and Clinton and Representatives Charles Rangel, Jose Serrano, Eliot Engel, and Maurice Hinchey spoke out about the need for additional aid to New York. Eddie Rodriguez of Bridge Painters 806, and Paul Lee, a small business owner in Chinatown, detailed how much they need immediate assistance as well.