In a Big 7 April 21 Statement, the seven leading organizations representing state and local governments at the federal level called on Congress to “immediately provide robust, flexible relief” to state, territorial, and local governments as part an interim relief package for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Governors Association, Council of State Governments, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the International City/County Management Association reaffirmed their unity and their partnership with the federal government to protect households and residents from the ill effects of the pandemic.
State, territorial, and local governments are fighting this pandemic as partners to provide unique and nonduplicative services to protect public health and economic stability, despite significant losses of revenue as a result of public health measures requiring a pause on most economic activity.
While the CARES Act allocated aid to states and local governments, governors and local leaders are in desperate need of additional assistance to protect the lives of citizens and re-open our economy. The CARES Act did not contain funding to offset the drastic state and local revenue shortfalls that state and local governments are experiencing across the country, nor did it provide any relief to local governments with populations under 500,000. The groups noted that a full recovery from the crisis is dependent on “robust, flexible assistance” directly to states, territories, and local governments of all sizes.
Senate Passes Interim Bill Without Direct Aid for Local or State Governments
The $484 billion bill passed by the Senate on April 22, referred to as an interim stimulus package, is expected to be taken up by the House of Representatives later this week and signed by the President. Provisions require lending institutions that serve minority or underserved areas to be included, such as Community Development Financial Institutions and credit unions. The bill provides:
- $321 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection fund for small businesses; $60 billion is targeted for small and medium-sized financial institutions.
- A $60 billion Small Business Administration emergency grant and loan program for small businesses.
- $75 billion for hospitals.
- $25 billion for a new coronavirus testing program.