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

Senate President Pro Tempore Atkins, Assembly Speaker Rendon, Assembly Minority Leader Waldron all join call for federal support

 

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

 

cc: California congressional delegation

cc: Colorado congressional delegation

cc: Oregon congressional delegation

cc: Nevada congressional delegation

cc: Washington congressional delegation

 

 

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Monica Vargas

Monica is an Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). She has been involved in the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Valley Fire, Butte Fire, historic drought, Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, 2017 winter storms, North Bay Fires, Camp Fire, Ridgecrest Earthquake and EMAC PIO support to 2020 Puerto Rico earthquake. She previously served Cal OES as an analyst in international affairs, technology operations and executive staff support.

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