On May 22, NACo and 49 state associations of counties sent a letter to U.S. Senate leadership urging a bipartisan agreement on a new round of funding for local governments of all sizes in the next COVID-19 response package. The letter can be viewed at this link.
The joint letter highlights the devastating fiscal impact of the pandemic on America’s counties, which could total a combined $144 billion through FY 2021 without considering potential declines in property tax revenues and cuts in state aid for mandated services. These costs are compounded by the loss of more than 800,000 jobs in the local government sector since the start of the pandemic – 332,000 of which were non-education jobs ranging from law enforcement officers to health care practitioners, social workers, maintenance crews, construction works, administrative support and more.
Over the past several weeks, congressional legislators in both chambers have introduced several proposals that would address the immediate needs of local governments, including counties, in our pandemic response activities. The HEROES Act (H.R. 6800), as passed by the U.S. House, would allocate $187.5 billion in direct, flexible relief to counties of all sizes based on population. HEROES Act funding could be used both for the tremendous public health expenditures and the catastrophic losses in county revenue, both of which are key county priorities in the next round of COVID-19 relief. NACo’s full analysis of the HEROES Act legislation can be viewed at this link.
Other proposals, including the bipartisan Direct Support for Communities Act (S. 3632/H.R. 6748) and the bipartisan SMART Act introduced in the U.S. Senate, use similar funding formulas and would provide direct funding to every county.
As Congress considers next steps on these proposals, NACo urges county leaders to call your U.S. Senators today to support direct and flexible funding for counties of all sizes. To facilitate this process, NACo has multiple, customizable advocacy resources available at www.naco.org/covid19.
For additional COVID-19 advocacy resources for counties, please see the following links:
- Letter template for the U.S. Senate (NACo advocacy resource)
- Legislative analysis of the HEROES Act (NACo legislative analysis)
- Summary of all COVID-19 legislative packages (NACo legislative resource)