Here are stories from cities and states across the country struggling to keep up with COVID-19 and bracing for the economic fallout that will come without federal support.
From Tempe, AZ:
Before COVID-19, over 21% of our residents lived in poverty and people of color are disproportionately impacted. We are facing a tsunami of human services need from our general and specialized (e.g., homeless population). We are a city that nearly doubles our population in the daytime, as we are home to Arizona State University, which translates into increased human-service, transportation, and public safety needs. A strict per-capita distribution of aid does not reflect our overall needs in many arenas.
From St. Louis, MO:
Our city did not qualify under the CARES Act for direct funding as we are under 500k people, and leaving us dependent on our Governor, and we need to be able to act on our own.
From Philadelphia, PA:
This policy will provide needed capital relief and resources to our cash strapped City. Prior to COVID-19 impacting our City, Commonwealth, Country and the world, Philadelphia had one of the lowest reserve percentages compared to other large U.S. cities. Having the ability to borrow capital with little to no bond obligations will enable us to help our most vulnerable.
From Portland, OR:
This proposal will give Portland some much-needed tools to invest further in our recovery. Transient lodging taxes and service charges make up over 10% of our budget; Transportation Bureau revenue sources — gas taxes and parking — are being hit especially hard. The suite of options in this proposal will help to provide for additional liquidity, streamlined access to capital markets, and ultimately help our City services keep pace with its needs.
From Inkster, MI:
Inkster is a small community that is 90% dependent on its ability to collect taxes and water revenue to provide essential services to the community at large. Seeing no end in sight, as it relates to the virus, our ability to maintain a balanced and sustainable budget is at risk. Our municipality could face layoffs and be forced to dissolve key services throughout our community.
From Romulus, MI:
Our daytime population nearly doubles, as we are home to Detroit Metro Airport. That does not include the 36.7 million airline travelers annually that come through our community and draw on our resources. Considering these travelers, we are especially susceptible to the spread of the coronavirus. Our response efforts have led to increases in personnel and overtime costs while maintaining a limited service model for basic city operations. For all of these reasons, we ask the federal government to grant aid to local governments.
From Port Angeles, WA:
The City of Port Angeles’ general fund revenue is about 25% sales tax. This fund primarily pays for police, fire, streets, and parks. Before the pandemic the general fund faced a structural deficit, balanced only by deferring maintenance on streets. Without financial assistance from the federal government the City will be facing staffing cuts – likely the already overworked police and fire officers who are right now the first responders for the health emergency.
From New York State:
Our state and local governments are in dire financial condition due to necessary responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government must step in and provide critical assistance to keep states afloat during this unprecedented crisis.
This would make a tremendous difference to the CO State budget. We’re facing serious cuts and need to do everything we can to ensure federal dollars are able to be used effectively.