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NYC mayor says furloughs, layoffs of first responders ‘on the table’

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city has lost $7.4 billion during the pandemic and cuts including essential workers may be necessary


By Laura French

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that furloughs and layoffs of essential workers, including first responders and healthcare personnel, may be necessary due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

De Blasio said during a news briefing Wednesday that without federal aid, “any and all options are on the table” to make up for the $7.4 billion in revenue the city has lost during the crisis.

In response to a reporter who asked whether he would be willing to cut first responders, healthcare workers and teachers, de Blasio said that health and safety were a priority, but added, “If we’re threatened with potential cuts from the state level because the state has run out of money, we’re going to have to do very, very painful things and every option will be on the table.”

The mayor also mentioned possible furloughs and layoffs of essential workers in an interview with CNN earlier on Wednesday.

“Right now what I’m staring down the barrel of, and cities and states all over the country, people are either acting on furloughs and layoffs or preparing for furloughs and layoffs of the exact people who have been heroes in this crisis, who we should be celebrating and supporting – the first responders, the healthcare workers, the educators,” de Blasio said. “How are we going to support these people who we need if we don’t have any money?”

De Blasio also criticized President Donald Trump, accusing him of “turning his back because of partisan affiliation” and saying a lack of cooperation between the federal government and cities and states on stimulus legislation will hamper the nation’s economic recovery.

“He has expressed sympathy to me and publicly for what’s happened to the people of New York and other cities, the heroism of the first responders and the healthcare workers and then he goes silent when it comes to actually helping them out,” de Blasio stated. “When he starts talking about the capital gains tax, that’s him wanting to help his rich buddies, not helping firefighters or EMT or paramedics or healthcare workers.”

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