(The Center Square) – For weeks, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has railed against a series of federal coronavirus relief bills that, one after another, included no unrestricted money to help state and local governments cope with massive new deficits created by the lack of tax revenue.
On Thursday, confronted by news that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had virtually ruled out any such aid, Cuomo devoted part of his daily coronavirus briefing to lashing out at the Republican from Kentucky.
“This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” Cuomo said of McConnell’s suggestion that the states in fiscal peril declare bankruptcy. “I said to my colleagues in Washington, I would’ve insisted that state and local funding was in this current bill, because I don’t believe they want to fund state and local governments. And not to fund state and local governments is incredibly shortsighted.”
The U.S. House of Representatives was poised Thursday to pass the fourth in a series of relief bills, the latest focused primarily on assistance for small businesses. But Cuomo argued that failing to support states would have the effect of cutting off support for police, firefighters, health care workers and teachers.
He also insisted that McConnell had failed to reckon with the impact of a state bankruptcy on the national economy. No U.S. state has ever declared bankruptcy.
“You want to see that market fall through the cellar, let New York state declare bankruptcy,” he said. “Let Michigan declare bankruptcy. Let Illinois declare bankruptcy, let California declare bankruptcy. You will see a collapse of this national economy. So, just dumb.”
The governor decried as “vicious” McConnell’s comments that it was fiscally irresponsible to continue sending hundreds of millions of dollars to “blue states,” meaning those with a majority Democratic population.
Cuomo rejected the idea that Democratic-leaning states were a drag on the rest of the nation, comparing his home state directly to McConnell’s.
“[The] grim reaper, Sen. McConnell, he represents the state of Kentucky,” Cuomo said. “When it comes to fairness, New York state puts much more money into the federal pot than it takes out. At the end of the year, we put into that federal pot $116 billion more than we take out. His state, the state of Kentucky, takes out $148 billion more than they put in.
“Sen. McConnell, who’s getting bailed out here?” Cuomo added. “It’s your state that is living on the money that we generate. Your state is getting bailed out, not my state.”
He said he had not spoken directly to McConnell about the issue and that he had no plans to do so.