NYC Pays Artists $5,000, Rescues Cabbies With Influx of U.S. Aid
(Bloomberg) -- New York City is seizing on its $5.9 billion federal aid infusion to give $5,000 to artists, provide relief to taxicab drivers and keep outdoor dining alive.
The city has received more than any other from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which extended $350 billion to states and local governments nationwide to help offset the toll of the pandemic.
Some have been slow to spend or even earmark the aid, in part because of the swift rebound in tax collections.
But New York City, an early epicenter of the pandemic, has moved more swiftly to allocate it. Last week, it released a more than 70-page report documenting its planned uses of the funds, including drawing on $2.27 billion to cover the revenue losses it incurred as the city shut down.
“New York City’s Recovery for All plan prioritizes vaccinating against COVID-19 to jump-start the recovery, using the City government to fight inequality, building a fairer economy, helping children recover emotionally and academically from the impact of the pandemic, strengthening community-based solutions to public safety, and fighting the climate crisis,” the report said.
New York City said it will direct $1.45 billion of its funds to expand its healthcare system, which includes improving the availability of Covid testing and extending its vaccination campaign.
Other uses include a program that provides 1,800 grants of $5,000 to artists and relief payments to taxi-medallion owners. The aid is also helping fund a program beginning in 2023 that will encouraging more outdoor dining, which gained popularity during the Covid crisis.
Another $1.51 billion will be used to increase employment and support small businesses.
The city’s tourism industry, which supports more than 376,800 jobs, was hammered by the pandemic, which reduced the number of visitors to the city by 67% in 2020 and cost the city $1.2 billion in lost tax revenue. The city has also set aside $52.5 million of the relief funds to bring the tourism industry back to pre-pandemic levels.
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