May 4, 2020
Press Release

Senate Majority Leader McConnell Has Suggested Local Governments Simply Go “Bankrupt” To Weather Coronavirus Crisis; Brindisi Says That Will Not Work & Risks Making The Economic Crisis Exponentially Worse; Local Jobs Like Teachers, First Responders & Others Would Be Gone & Taxes Would Rise


 Congressman Launches Local, Bipartisan Push To Combat This Threat & Details Next Steps To Make The Case & Prevent Local Bankruptcies


Brindisi: I Won’t Let Locals Go Bankrupt Because That Will Propel This Crisis For Years & Crush Our Pockets  


Congressman Anthony Brindisi held a virtual press conference with local heroes to announce his broad, bipartisan coalition fighting for state and local aid in the next coronavirus relief package. Following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s controversial comments calling aid to local and state governments a “blue state bailout” and suggesting states should go “bankrupt”, Brindisi forged a coalition of more than 25 local, county, and state lawmakers to call on Washington to provide relief for state and local governments.


Brindisi, joined by Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol, Endicott Fire Department President Paul Higgins, and Utica teacher Kirstin Vivacqua, demanded aid for municipalities and highlighted the dire cuts that would be enacted if these funds were denied. 


“If our communities are forced to declare bankruptcy like Senator McConnell suggested, that will force our state and local leaders to cut essential services,” Brindisi said. “That will mean less cops on the beat, less firefighters at the firehouse, and less resources for our teachers. COVID-19 has already devastated our economies and many of our families, we cannot let Washington politics compound the pain. I will fight tooth and nail to make sure the next coronavirus relief bill includes aid for our state and local governments.” 


The local workers highlighted what’s at stake and expressed their full support for Brindisi’s effort.


“Protecting local law enforcement is critical during this pandemic, which is why I fully support funding for our State and local governments,” said Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol. “I applaud Congressman Brindisi’s efforts to protect all first responders who keep our communities safe.”


"I am grateful to Congressman Brindisi for standing up to Washington and fighting for aid for our local and state budgets,” said Kirstin Vivacqua,

Reading Teacher and Political Action Coordinator, NYSUT. “He understands that our school buildings are closed, but schools and teachers are working harder than ever to provide educational and social emotional support to our students and communities. This pandemic has severely impacted public schools as we provide meals and the technology needed to continue educating our students. Any further cuts to education would be incredibly devastating. It is good to know that public education has a friend looking out for all of us."


“If our state and local governments do not receive much needed aid, we will likely see cuts to essential services,” said President of Endicott Professional Firefighters IAFF, Local 1280, Paul Higgins. “Our fire department works every day to keep our communities safe. I thank Congressman Brindisi for his efforts to get us the resources we need.”


During the press conference, Brindisi revealed a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling on them to put politics aside and help local and state governments. Brindisi built a coalition of Democrats and Republicans to call on Washington leadership to ensure state  and local governments receive the aid they need.


“Our country is strong because in times of peril we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans first,” the lawmakers wrote. After the horrific attacks of September 11, President Bush came to New York to say that he stands with our State, with our first responders, and with our communities. That is the type of leadership we need now.”


Brindisi’s full letter and a list of signees is below:


Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell:


We, the undersigned State Representatives, County Executives, Mayors, Supervisors, and Legislators in the 22nd Congressional District of New York write to urge for the inclusion of desperately needed funding for State and local governments in the next emergency coronavirus package.


With more than 300,000 cases and more than 18,000 deaths, New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in America. As of April 27, there were more than 1,100 cases in NY-22 counties. New York has been under a statewide shelter-in-place order since late March.


New York State and the local county and municipal governments in our community are facing enormous costs in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including rapid activation and expansion of emergency services, overtime and hazard compensation for first responders, personal protective equipment, and more. The coronavirus pandemic has not only increased costs for local governments, but shelter-in-place orders have also negatively impacted vital revenue such as sales taxes, court fees, parking fees, energy tax receipts and other revenue that State and local governments depend on. 


Without targeted stabilization funding, our State, counties, cities, and towns will be unable to continue providing critical services to our residents. We appreciate the support Congress has provided so far but we are concerned that without significant additional federal support to New York we will be forced to slash essential services, including public schools, police and fire departments, and much more.


That is why we strongly urge you to include support for State and local governments in any future COVID-19 relief package. We support efforts to allow state, county, and municipal governments to seek assistance regardless of population size and without onerous preconditions from the federal government. 


Our country is strong because in times of peril we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans first. After the horrific attacks of September 11, President Bush came to New York to say that he stands with our State, with our first responders, and with our communities. That is the type of leadership we need now.


Without your support for this proposal or others like it, our communities will struggle to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect our residents, and recover our economies. We implore you to work on a bipartisan basis to address the concerns outlined in this letter. 


Thank you for your consideration.


Frederick J. Akshar II                                                       Joseph A. Griffo

Senator                                                                                 Senator

52nd District                                                                       47th District


Rachel May                                                                          Patty Ritchie

Senator                                                                                 Senator

53rd District                                                                       48th District                    


James L. Seward                                                                James N. Tedisco                                

Senator                                                                                 Senator                                               

51st District                                                                         49th District


Marianne Buttenschon                                                    Clifford W. Crouch   

Member of Assembly                                                        Member of Assembly

119th District                                                                     122nd District        


Gary D. Finch                                                                      Barbara Lifton

Member of Assembly                                                        Member of Assembly

126th District                                                                     125th District                    


Donna A. Lupardo                                                             Brian D. Miller

Member of Assembly                                                        Member of Assembly

123rd District                                                                     101st  District                                


John Salka                                                                           Robert J. Smullen

Member of Assembly                                                        Member of Assembly

121st District                                                                      118th District


Jason T. Garnar                                                                  Anthony J. Picente Jr. 

Broome County Executive                                              Oneida County Executive




John M. Becker                                                                   Vincent J. Bono

Chairman                                                                             Chairman

Madison County Board of Supervisors                       Herkimer County Legislature   


Paul Heider                                                                         Martha Sauerbrey

Chairman                                                                             Chair

Cortland County Legislature                                         Tioga County Legislature


James Weatherup                                                  Lawrence N. Wilcox

Chairman                                                                 Chairman

Oswego County Legislature                           Chenango County Board of Supervisors    


Helen Acker                                                                         Richard C. David

Mayor                                                                                    Mayor

City of Oneida                                                                     City of Binghamton


Jacqueline M. Izzo                                                             Robert M. Palmieri             

Mayor                                                                                    Mayor

City of Rome                                                                        City of Utica                                                             


Shawn Sastri                                                                       Brian Tobin

Mayor                                                                                    Mayor

City of Norwich                                                                  City of Cortland


Brandon M. Lovett

City Manager                                                                            

City of Sherrill