Over the past twenty years, we have had more than our share of calamitous events, each one with worries and dire fears. But it is said neither our greatest hopes nor our worst fears are ever realized. And so it will be with the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2001, the New York City World Trade Center and the Pentagon building were hit with terrorist missiles in the form of passenger airplanes. The World Trade Center towers were utterly destroyed with a loss of life of over 3,000 persons including hundreds of first responders. For those of us in New York City, it seemed like the end of the world. The Stock Market crashed and closed for several days. All of New York City was on lockdown. Nobody knew if there would be more attacks in the days to come. It was terrifying.
But our city showed courage and resilience. We somehow got through those dark days where destruction and fear seemed to permeate everyday life. We persevered. We rebuilt and we restored downtown Manhattan. We came through it arguably even stronger than before.
With Big Apple restaurants and bars now relying on takeout and delivery only and Broadway having gone dark, the city will lose $3.2 billion in taxes over the next six months, Comptroller Scott Stringer said today. In order to protect vital services, Stronger said the city must figure out ways to save money and then set aside four percent of current agency spending, which would amount to roughly $1.43 billion. Social service agencies like the Department of Health and the city’s public hospital network, NYC H+H, would be exempt from the budget siphoning. The savings would then be included in the mayor’s executive budget due later next month if needed.
Meanwhile, Stringer is also calling for additional city, state and federal measures to help businesses that are suffering the most as the virus spreads and the city is further shut down.
His suggestions include:
• Having the state defer sales tax payments that are due for March 20 for hotels, restaurants and small storefront retail
• Extending the city’s assistance program announced last week by the Department of Small Business Services to non-profits