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Senators from red states don't want federal aid going to blue states

New York is one of 10 states that pay more in federal taxes than they receive in funding. Yet Senate Republicans don’t think they deserve help with their coronavirus costs.

By Emily Singer - April 24, 2020
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Mitch McConnell

A growing number of Republican senators are saying Democratic-controlled states should not receive any federal assistance to help cover coronavirus related deficits — even though those blue states pay more into federal taxes than they receive.

In the past weeks, Democrats have proposed helping states such as New York and New Jersey — which are facing the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country — with federal aid to make up for the lost tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A bipartisan group of governors say the aid is necessary to make up for the impending budget shortfalls they are about to face.

Yet Republicans are refusing.

The campaign against providing aid to blue states began with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said on Wednesday that New York and other Democratic-controlled cities and states should go bankrupt instead of relying on federal dollars.

“My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that,” McConnell said on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show. “That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.”

And other Republican senators are now following suit, with Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas telling Politico he is against sending federal aid to hard-hit states like New York.

“There are a lot of Democratic senators who want a no strings attached bailout for their states because of imprudent fiscal decisions in the past. And obviously we’re not going to agree to that,” Cotton told Politico.

However, states like New York — which is staring down at least $7.4 billion in lost tax revenue thanks to the coronavirus — pay in far more than they receive in federal tax dollars.

According to a study in 2019 by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, a think tank based in Albany, the state is one of 10 in the country that pay more in federal tax dollars than they get back.

In fact, according to the study, New York has the biggest deficit in the amount of federal tax dollars it pays to the amount it received back in aid. New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Illinois — all Democratic-controlled states facing bad coronavirus outbreaks — round out the top 5 states that pay more in federal tax dollars than they receive, according to the study.

“New York’s residents and businesses — which consistently send more revenue to the Federal government than any other state — continue to contribute more in taxes than the state receives back in Federal spending,” the study said.

Meanwhile, McConnell’s state of Kentucky ranks third in states that get more federal tax dollars than it pays in. Arkansas, which Cotton represents, falls in the top 20 states that get more tax dollars than it contributes.

New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo made this point to call out McConnell’s refusal to help his state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Let’s talk about fairness, Mitch. [New York state] puts $116 billion more into the federal pot than we take out. Kentucky TAKES $148 billion more from the federal pot than they put in. But we don’t deserve help now because the 15,000 people who died here were predominately democrats?” Cuomo tweeted on Thursday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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