NYSAC Special Bulletin  

Between the Legislature and COVID-19, news is breaking at a pace like we’ve never experienced — and it all directly ties to the work New York’s counties are doing. To help keep you as updated as possible, NYSAC will be sending out daily “Special Bulletins.”

Counties are Leading the Way – Thank you!  
A special thank you to our public health officials, public safety officers, and essential county workers who are keeping our residents safe and healthy during this historic public health emergency.   

Our county leaders are continuing to ask people to stay home and encourage residents to regularly wash their hands and practice social distancing.   
Update on NYS Executive Action on COVID 19   
The Governor has instituted  5 Executive Orders , and most counties have declared a local state of emergency. Any local emergency order (or charter, law, reg, etc.) that conflicts with any of the executive directives is suspended, according to Executive Order 202.3.  

Beginning today, and ending April 1st, all school districts will be closed across the state ( Exec Order #202.4 ). Schools are directed to develop a plan for alternative instructional options, distribution and availability of meals, and childcare, with an emphasis on serving children of parents in the health care profession or first responders.  

Local government staffing reductions are effective today, 3/17, according to Executive Order #202.4. Non-essential personnel (as determined by the local government) must work from home or take leave without charging accruals. There are exemptions for personnel essential to the COVID-19 response. Non-essential personnel must be at least 50% of the total number of employees.  

Village elections scheduled for today (3/17) are postponed, as per Executive Order #202.4. Any large gathering or event that expects more than 50 people in attendance must be cancelled or postponed ( Exec Order #202.3 ).
  
Effective yesterday at 8 p.m., bars and restaurants are take-out only. Retail on-premises licensees can sell alcohol for take-out or delivery during this period. This same Executive Order has also closed casinos and gyms effective yesterday (3/16) at 8 p.m. 
Three-Way Agreement on Paid Sick Leave  
This afternoon, the Governor reached a three-way agreement with legislative leaders to pass a paid sick leave program. The legislature is expected to take up this legislation on Wednesday.  

For public employers, each employee who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation, due to COVID-19 shall be provided with at least 14 days of paid sick leave during the mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation. This legislation provides paid sick leave without loss of an employee’s accrued sick leave.  
These benefits in general are also extended to the private sector as well. However, the level of paid sick leave benefit varies depending on the number of employees and the amount of revenue generated by a private sector company.  

You can read a full copy of the legislation here.
Counties Innovating   
In the face of unprecedented challenges, counties are innovating to find solutions to respond to the COVID-19 threat. NYSAC is collecting some of these solutions and will providing them through an interactive blog. For example,
 
Economic Impact on Counties    
NYSAC is projecting a more than $1 billion impact on New York State counties, outside of New York City. When you include New York City and all of economic activities that take place in the City, we are projecting a more than $5 billion impact on our local economies.  
 
Price Gouging Hotline   
The NYS Attorney General has developed a price gouging hotline at 1-800-697-1220. If county officials, local leaders, or residents see any price gouging for supplies during this crisis, they are being asked to the Attorney General’s office. 
Small Business Assistance   
The Small Business Administration (SBA) of the US Government can provide up to $2 million in disaster assistance loans to provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.   
 
Update on State Budget Timeline   
The state is considering an omnibus provision within the state budget to extend all outstanding local home rule bills - sales tax, mortgage recording tax, etc. We are continuing to urge leadership in both houses to reject Part R (the Medicaid amendments).   

The State Capitol has been closed as of Sunday until further notice. In the meantime, 3-way budget negotiations have been underway since late Saturday afternoon. The Comptroller and Governor agreed that the Governor’s revenue estimates are $4-$7 billion higher than what is now projected due to the economic fluctuations due to COVID-19.  

There is a sense of urgency in the state Capitol to negotiate and pass a state budget and then not return to the State Capitol for several months. 
 
Update on Federal Coronavirus Response   
Last night, the House of Representatives passed H. Res 904, technical amendments to H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was passed over the past weekend. This bill is a Medicaid fiscal lifeline for the state of between $5 and $7 billion, and hundreds of millions in support for counties. We are now waiting on the U.S. Senate to take up the revised bill. 

For a deeper dive on the H.R.6201, read our  blog post.
  
Additional Stimulus Package   
President Trump is proposing an $850 billion fiscal stimulus package comprised mainly of tax cuts and cash assistance to heavily impacted industries such as airlines and tourism related industries.   

Senator Schumer is proposing a $750 billion stimulus package of new spending initiatives as opposed to an all tax cuts approach. We expect a combination of both will be part of any final package.
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