As a new fiscal year begins for most state and local governments, a coalition of state and local organizations, business groups, labor unions and others made a unified appeal to the U.S. Senate to immediately act on aid for state and local governments as public services and jobs are threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted that nearly 15 million Americans are employed by state and local governments, whose purchases account for 11 percent of the gross domestic product. The pandemic, which has decimated major revenue sources, threatens jobs and services in education, public safety, healthcare, transportation and other vital functions of state and local governments.
The National Governors Association, The 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. In all, more than 170 businesses and organizations signed.
“Leaders in Washington have expressed support for flexible fiscal aid to states and localities of all sizes,” the letter notes. “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.”
Forty-five state governments and thousands of local governments are facing a June 30 deadline to adopt budgets. Unlike the federal government, which can borrow at exceptionally low interest rates, the state and local governments must begin their fiscal years on time and with balanced budgets.