Political, business, and academic leaders are joining forces to track the economic impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on Long Island.
Nassau County officials are forming an economic council that will track, calculate, and try to recoup losses incurred by local businesses big and small. Suffolk County announced similar plans last week.
“We have to be ready to face the devastating economic impact this virus will have globally, as you see in the plummeting stock market, and in the county and for our local businesses,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Tuesday in Mineola. “We don’t know the full economic impact yet, but I predict that it will be brutal and it will have a long-term impact. The more quickly we can quantify that impact, the more quickly we can begin to address it.”
Hofstra University is taking the lead in Nassau on crunching the numbers for the economic forecast and evaluating the multiplier effect, the phenomenon whereby change ripples across the economy.
For example, Kristen Jarnagin, president and CEO of Discover Long Island, the local tourism board, said that Long Island’s $6.1 billion industry, which generated $741 million in local and state tax revenue last year, is “suffering greatly.”
“You’re seeing the closure of hotels, not just restaurants — they can continue business — but hotels, attractions,” she said. “So we’re gonna see the immediate impact of that.”
Government leaders will have to figure out how to fill budget gaps caused by the drop in tax revenue.
Richard Kessel, chairman of the Nassau Industrial Development Agency, is among those pitching in.
“We’re reaching out to all businesses to make sure that they’re OK to see if there’s anything that we can do in the interim to help them,” he said.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he’s tasked his departments of labor and economic development with leading his administration’s effort.
“Everything we’re doing here is about protecting public health, but at the end of the day we also know there are extraordinary economic impacts here,” he said. “We have to balance those things.”
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