Western States Pact Urges Federal Support for States and Cities Responding to COVID-19 Pandemic

May 12, 2020

 

SACRAMENTO — In a letter to Congressional leadership today, governors and legislative leaders from five western states requested $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to states and local governments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to preserve core government services like public health, public safety and public education, and help people get back to work.

 

The letter can be read here and is copied below:

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy and Leader Schumer:

It is now clear that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, and the worst of its economic impact is yet to come. Our states are on the front line against the virus while at the same time leading our states’ recovery. Each of us has seen first-hand how COVID-19 has caused a national recession that we are seeing play out in our states – resulting in a record amount of lost wages and business failures, spiraling unemployment and substantial, unplanned COVID-19-driven costs.

We deeply appreciated the quick financial assistance you provided workers, small business people and those who have been displaced by this crisis. But now, however, our states will be forced to make deep cuts to programs that help those same individuals without similar relief efforts for state and local governments. Even states that began the year in a strong fiscal position are facing staggering deficits amid growing costs of responding to the crisis. With unemployment projected to surpass that of the Great Recession, we are facing unprecedented and ongoing economic challenges.

Without federal support, states and cities will be forced to make impossible decisions – like whether to fund critical public healthcare that will help us recover, or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other first responders.  And, without additional assistance, the very programs that will help people get back to work – like job training and help for small business owners – will be forced up on the chopping block.

That’s why we are respectfully, and urgently, requesting $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to states and local governments. Though even this amount will not replace the decline in revenue that we forecast, it will make a meaningful difference in our ability to make-up for COVID-19 revenue losses. This aid would preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education and help people get back to work. It would help our states and cities come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient.

Red and blue states alike all are faced with the same COVID-19 math, as are Democratic and Republican mayors across our states. The moment requires unprecedented partnership from all of us – across every level of government and across party.

We urge you to take swift action to help states and local governments provide core government services for American families

Sincerely,

Gavin Newsom

Governor of California

Toni Atkins

President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate

Anthony Rendon

Speaker of the California State Assembly

Marie Waldron

Minority Leader of the California State Assembly

Jared Polis

Governor of Colorado

Leroy Garcia

President of the Colorado State Senate

Steve Fenberg

Majority Leader of the Colorado State Senate

KC Becker

Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives

Alec Garnett

Majority Leader of the Colorado House of Representatives

Kate Brown

Governor of Oregon

Tina Kotek

Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives

Peter Courtney

President of the Oregon Senate

Steve Sisolak

Governor of Nevada

Nicole Cannizzaro

Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate

Jason Frierson

Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly

Jay Inslee

Governor of Washington

Andy Billig

Majority Leader of the Washington State Senate

Laurie Jinkins

Speaker of the Washington House of Representatives

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