On today’s White House call with the nation’s governors, Governor Larry Hogan, chairman of the National Governors Association, continued to stress the urgent need for federal action to help states address budgetary shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In this unprecedented crisis, more than 1.6 million government workers have already been laid off, and states across the country face the prospect of devastating cuts to essential services,” said Governor Hogan. “If swift action is not taken, states will be forced to make cuts that could cost several million additional jobs, which would further stall the recovery. Congress should not take any kind of August recess without providing this urgent fiscal relief to the states.”
Governor Hogan has been leading this national, bipartisan effort since March. Along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the NGA vice-chair, he has called on Congress to provide an additional $500 billion for states and territories. A new report from Moody’s Analytics estimates that state and local budget shortfalls “could shave as much as 3 full percentage points from real GDP and erase about 4 million jobs.”
Also today, a coalition of state and local organizations, business groups, labor unions, and others made a unified appeal to U.S. Senate leaders to “immediately” act on aid for state and local governments as public services and jobs are threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter comes as a new national survey from the Pew Research Center shows that 76% of Americans favor providing financial assistance to state and local governments.
“Teachers, first responders and emergency medical service workers are on the front lines of this crisis doing the essential work of the country,” the letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer notes. “Government employment continues to suffer substantial losses with over 1.6 million state and local government jobs lost since March. Leaders in Washington have expressed support for flexible fiscal aid to states and localities of all sizes. Yet months have gone by and our communities continue to suffer. Americans have a history of standing together in times of crisis and must do so now.” Read the letter here.
The NGA, 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 were joined by local municipal associations, trade associations, major corporations, labor unions, and others in signing the letter.