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Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island to stay open in spite of government shutdown

December 22, 2018

The governor of New York said the state will cover the costs required to keep the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island open to visitors during the federal government shutdown that started Saturday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said the state will spend $65,000 a day to keep both landmarks open to the public to prevent the partial shutdown from putting a dent in the state’s tourism industry, staving off millions of dollars in likely losses.

“It’s not going to cost the state anything, as a matter of fact, we’re going to make money,” Mr. Cuomo told WCBS 880 in New York City. “The cost of paying the employees pales in comparison.”

Two of the state’s top tourist destinations, the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island created a combined economic output of $364 million during 2016, or almost an average of $1 million a day, according to the U.S. National Park Service.

New York previously paid to keep the monuments open during government shutdowns in 2013 and Jan. 2018, making the state’s latest gesture its third in five years.

The state was reimbursed during the previous instances after the federal government was back up and running, the New York Daily News reported.

The federal government partially shut down Saturday morning after lawmakers failed to pass a spending bill that included $5 billion budgeted toward President Trump’s proposed wall at the Mexican border.

“We will not allow President Trump’s repugnant symbol of division close the true representations of who we are as a state and a nation,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “As we’ve done before when Washington’s dysfunction has shut down the government, New York will step up and ensure the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island remain open for the world to look to for strength and hope during this tumultuous time.”

The Senate adjourned Saturday afternoon until Dec. 27, delaying any deal until after Christmas.

Mr. Cuomo, reelected for a second time last month, is scheduled to be sworn-in for his third term as governor on Ellis Island on January 1.

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