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Retirement Celebration honoring Gerald Benjamin Ph.D.

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The BENCEN Blog

COVID-19: Local Leaders Respond

The Benjamin Center recently asked 233 randomly selected New York State county, city, town, and village elected officials, representative of local elected leaders across the state, about how they and their communities are handling the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s what they told us.

Key findings:

  • COVID-19 has presented major challenges to all classes of localities 85 percent of local government leaders fear their community’s ability to respond effectively.
  • Local leaders are expecting precipitous declines in revenue Nearly every local leader said they are concerned about the fiscal impacts of COVID-19, including 76 percent who are very concerned. Ninety-four percent say budget gaps are likely, including 76 percent  who say revenue shortfalls are very likely.  
  • Fifty-eight percent of leaders say what they need the most right now is federal aid due to the revenue shortfalls that are a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic; the vast majority say the deficits will be due to precipitous drops in tax revenues, in particular, sales tax, and many say now is not the time to raise taxes.

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