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State Budget to Be Adjusted Quarterly, Federal Response 'Reckless'

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this morning again blasted the $2 trillion federal stimulus package, saying it will do nothing to help New York's rapidly deteriorating revenue situation and deeming the lack of action on this front "irresponsible" and "reckless."

New York will receive some $5 billion from the measure passed by the U.S. Senate shortly before midnight last night and now on deck in the House, Cuomo said. But all of that money is earmarked for COVID-19 response, and none of it can be used to address the revenue shortfall, which he estimated could be $15 billion or more.

"The Congressional action, in my opinion, simply failed to address the governmental need,” Cuomo said during his daily briefing for reporters at the state Capitol. “I find it irresponsible. I find it reckless.”

"I would never believe they would pass a piece of legislation that did not address it," the governor continued. "They just did not address the revenue shortfall...they just did nothing on the revenue loss. They know we have to fund education. They all say in their speeches, education education it’s our children’s future. And then they do nothing….to be angry is a luxury; we don’t have that luxury right now. Let’s just deal with the facts and get through it."

The state budget, which has a constitutionally mandated deadline of April 1, is likely to be a bare bones affair. But even so, with things changing so rapidly and the financial picture so unclear, New York is going to have to do something it has never done - adjusting finances every quarter, at least.

State Budget Director Robert Mujica said the state spending will be adjusted as revenues come in - either quarterly or bi-monthly - with the goal of being "transparent" and letting school districts, local governments and others than rely on state funding exactly where things stand so they can plan accordingly.

"No one can say, 'Well, I don’t accept the reality of this revenue loss,'" Cuomo said. "It is a reality for everyone, and everyone has to adjust to it. I’m sure there are some people who will say, 'I shouldn’t be held to it. I should be held harmless from reality'…Everyone is going to have to deal with the reality I can’t protect them from the reality."

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