This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.
In New York, the elephant in the room is the state's $14 billion budget deficit. In late March, as lawmakers worked to agree on a spending plan, COVID-19 was strangling the state. The legislature decided to do something unorthodox and granted Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo the ability to unilaterally add or subtract funding from the state budget to deal with the fiscal uncertainties caused by the outbreak.
Like many other states, New York is depending on more aid from the federal government. Cuomo has threatened to cut money to schools, local governments and hospitals by as much as 20% in as soon as a couple of weeks if Congress does not agree on a relief package that includes direct aid to state and local governments hard hit by the pandemic. He has already temporarily cut aid to some cities by 20%.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins says decisions on how to balance the budget will have to wait until the details of the federal relief package are known, adding she's hopeful because it's no longer just blue states that are suffering.
"As COVID rages throughout the nation, everybody is being hit one way or another with the incredible expense," Stewart-Cousins says.
Karen DeWitt is the capitol bureau chief for New York State Public Radio.