At a press conference yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo placed the monetary value of Hurricane Sandy’s damage to New York State at $32 billion. That figure does not include an additional request of over $9 billion in federal funds for future mitigation and prevention efforts, as reported by Michael Gormley for the Associated Press.
“It’s common sense; it’s intelligent,” Cuomo said. “Why don’t you spend some money now to save money in the future? And that’s what prevention and mitigation is.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg had announced earlier in the day that Sandy had wrought $19 billion worth of damage on New York City. That figure was factored in as part of Gov. Cuomo’s $32 billion estimate.
The governor told reporters that, after facing what was already a more than $1 billion budget deficit due to tax revenue shortfalls, New Yorkers simply can’t afford to shoulder the burden themselves.
“It would incapacitate the state,” Cuomo reiterated. “…Tax increases are always a last, last, last resort.”
Cuomo met with New York’s congressional delegation to discuss the new figures and present “less than a wish list.” The delegation, Cuomo and Bloomberg will now draw up a request for federal disaster aid.
States typically get 75 percent reimbursement for the cost of governments to restore mass transit and other services after a disaster.
The most basic recovery costs for roads, water systems, schools, parks, individual assistance and more total $15 billion in New York City; $7 billion for state agencies; $6.6 billion in Nassau County and $1.7 billion in Suffolk County, both on suburban Long Island; and $527 million in Westchester County and $143 million in Rockland County, both north of New York City, according to a state document used in the private briefing of the delegation and obtained by The Associated Press.
Back in NYC, Bloomberg is also requesting federal lawmakers expedite a combined $10 billion dollar aid package slated for both local government and businesses. The amount would surpass the $5.4 billion in funds the city expects to receive from the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA].
Cuomo also announced that the New York delegation would be working with officials from New Jersey and Connecticut in order to put additional pressure on Congress to push through federal disaster relief to the three states most affected by Sandy.