Long Island Officials Present Grim Economic Report In Wake Of Pandemic

Sophia Hall
July 09, 2020 - 5:30 pm

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    RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Long Island officials on Thursday presented a grim economic report for Nassau and Suffolk counties. 

    “This is the equivalent of if we got struck by a Category 5 hurricane, except, in this case the hurricane stayed for months,” says Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. 

    He stressed that Suffolk County is facing a budget gap of more than $800 million. Bellone warns that gap could grow to as much as $1.5 billion in the next 15 months. 

    Bellone, along with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, says if the federal government does not step in to assist, there will be mass layoffs, schools budget cuts and possibly the elimination of vital community programs. 

    They warn Long Island could lose up to 375,000 jobs because of the pandemic’s effect on the economy. 

    “We’ve seens our tax revenues plummet 30% and these are the revenues that your local government relies on to provide services like a Health Department,” Curran said.

    Bellone and Curran are asking the federal government to send financial assistance in the form of disaster relief assistance. 

    “This burden should not be placed on the shoulders of local taxpayers, essential workers and first responders,” Bellone says.

    WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports there are already signs of struggling industries across the county. 

    The general manager of the Hilton hotel in Melville told Hall that normally around this time of year, they are booked solid, but this year they’ve only booked around 20% of their rooms. 

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