“This is not a red state and blue state crisis.”
Governor Larry Hogan and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York today renewed their bipartisan call for Congress to provide immediate fiscal relief for U.S. states and territories to address budgetary shortfalls resulting from the unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis. Governor Hogan is the chairman of the National Governor’s Association (NGA), Governor Cuomo is the vice-chair.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, Hogan and Cuomo last month asked Congress to provide $500 billion to states and territories, in addition to needed fiscal stabilization for local governments.
According to the NGA letter:
As Congress reconvenes, delivering urgent state fiscal relief must be a top priority. Each day that Congress fails to act, states are being forced to make cuts that will devastate the essential services the American people rely on and destroy the economic recovery before it even gets off the ground.
With widespread bipartisan agreement on the need for this assistance, we cannot afford a partisan process that turns this urgent relief into another political football. This is not a red state and blue state crisis. This is a red white and blue pandemic. The coronavirus is apolitical. It does not attack Democrats or Republicans. It attacks Americans.
The nation’s governors are counting on our leaders in Washington to come together, put partisanship aside, and to get this done for the American people. This is why the National Governors Association continues to call for the passage of critical priorities that will help states and territories lead us through this pandemic response and get America moving again: $500 billion in fiscal support for state budgetary shortfalls resulting from the pandemic, enhanced FMAP funding to provide healthcare to our most vulnerable, and 100 percent federal cost share for FEMA response and recovery efforts.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the National Association of Counties (NACo) sent a letter to congressional leadership emphasizing county priorities in coronavirus response efforts and urging direct and flexible funding and resources for all counties as Congress considers a fourth coronavirus response package.
From the NACo letter:
As Congress considers a fourth COVID-19 response package, we urge you to provide direct and flexible funding and resources to counties of all sizes. As we work to protect our citizens, local businesses and economies, we are making significant financial investments to address immediate public health and safety needs. At the same time, we are experiencing massive and unprecedented declines in revenue as a result of the economic downturn and are working to quickly reprogram resources and staff to respond to the crisis.
Counties are required to operate with balance budgets, and due to the extremely steep and sudden unforeseen expenses for COVID-19 response efforts, some are already cutting services and laying off employees. In fact, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) just released a report detailing how local governments have projected an unanticipated $23 billion budget impact in the first two weeks of the pandemic alone.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.