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Cuomo Threatens To Withold Funding From Noncompliant Schools

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is threatening to withhold state funding from schools in COVID-19 hotspots that are remaining open despite the governor’s closure orders. Cuomo says he will also hold back state funds from local governments who fail to adequately police the areas identified by health officials as COVID clusters.

The hotspots are in portions of New York City, as well as Orange and Rockland Counties in the Hudson Valley, and include some Orthodox Jewish communities, which Cuomo called “politically powerful.” 

Despite school shut down orders, some yeshivas have remained open, and others have failed to obey rules to wear masks and strictly limit large gatherings. Cuomo says the schools won’t get state funding, and local governments will see their state funds withheld if they don’t enforce the containment regulations. The governor says he has no other choice.

“Because nothing else I have done has motivated them. Not my rapier wit. Not my sense of humor. Not my guilt. Not my blame. Not my admonition. And not my pleadings.” Cuomo said. “Maybe money works.”

The governor, who has fought with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over whether the city is doing enough to enforce the rules, says if he had a chance to redo his virus response plans, he would hire a state-run staff of enforcement agents to make sure New Yorkers follow all of the regulations.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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