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Elected Officials Call On Washington To Help Cash-Strapped Municipalities

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar,  Congressman Paul Tonko
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar, Congressman Paul Tonko

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Paul Tonko were in Albany Friday afternoon calling on Washington to provide local governments with direct federal relief.

Albany treasurer Darius Shahinfar says municipalities need help now.

"The City of Albany is facing a $17 to $20 million deficit in 2020 alone, and simple math tells us that this 10 to 15 percent drop in revenue will inevitably force cuts in public safety. Cuts that will make our cities unrecognizable," said Shahinfar.

Gillibrand and Tonko joined fellow-Democrat Shahinfar outside City Hall.

Gillibrand said "No state or town has been untouched by this pandemic and the economic crisis that it created."

Tonko added "Mr. President, let's invest in America. Let's invest in the people of this great country."

Local governments have begun service and staffing cuts with revenues sharply down due to the pandemic. Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York faces a $30 billion hole over the next two years. --

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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