Wagner, Stevens, Cisneros Call for Direct Fiscal Relief to Small and Mid-Sized Localities
Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (M0-02), along with Reps. Haley Stevens (MI-11) and Gil Cisneros (CA-39), led a bipartisan group of 26 Members of Congress calling on Congressional leadership to support small and mid-sized localities.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which passed with bipartisan support in March, allocated federal funds to provide fiscal relief for state and local governments that are on the front lines of the response to COVID-19. Localities with fewer than 500,000 residents are unable to apply for direct fiscal relief, shutting out small and mid-size cities that are struggling to provide critical services, pay their workforce, and acquire personal protection equipment and other much-needed supplies as their revenues decrease.
“The current provision creates untenable scenarios for the long-term solvency for our small and mid-sized cities and towns with populations under 500,000, which comprise over 99 percent of all cities across our country,” the Members wrote. “Our small and mid-sized cities and towns are on the front lines of saving lives and shoring up our local economies during this crisis. Without strong and immediate support, they will suffer significant revenue loss at a time when their output is increasing in response to the crisis.”
“St. Louis’s towns and municipalities have been hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Wagner. “The CARES Act allocated significant funding for states and cities to help provide immediate relief during this crisis, but unfortunately many local municipalities don’t currently qualify for this direct funding, which is why I joined my colleagues in a bipartisan effort calling for broader access to these funds. Our region is home to many of these municipalities that have a critical need for emergency relief funding, and I will continue to work with our local and state partners to ensure these resources are available to those in need as we work through this national emergency.”
“Over the past several weeks, I have convened weekly calls with Mayors and Township Supervisors representing each of the 24 municipalities in Michigan’s 11th District, and they have made it clear that they need stabilization funds now to provide critical services to their residents,” said Rep. Stevens. “Municipal governments in Michigan are facing enormous costs as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, more than 90% of cities are currently reporting a shortage of test kits and much-needed personal protection equipment for our emergency responders and medical workers. Our cities are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, and we have an obligation to provide sufficient funding to enable them to continue fighting this invisible enemy.”
“There’s not a single community in the United States that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19. Now that Congress has passed its fourth coronavirus response bill, we need to make sure the next one includes relief for our local cities and towns that have under 500,000 people,” said Rep. Cisneros. “I’ve spoken directly with local leaders in the 39th District who are in desperate need of resources and funding. As a result of this pandemic, they’re seeing a dramatic drop in revenue while demand for city services is skyrocketing. I urge congressional leadership to help our small- and medium-sized cities and towns that have been on the frontlines of this crisis.”
In addition to Reps. Stevens, Cisneros, and Wagner, the letter was signed by Reps. Van Taylor (TX-03), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Susan Wild (PA-07), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-03), Jim Costa (CA-16), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04), Kendra Horn (OK-05), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Andy Levin (MI-09), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Daniel W. Lipinski (IL-03), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), and Debbie Dingell (MI-12).
The full text of the letter can be found attached or below.
Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer,
Thank you for your ongoing work to support the wellbeing of all Americans and our economy in the face of this unprecedented crisis, the COVID-19 Pandemic. After spending time at home in our districts, seeing the heroic efforts to fight this novel coronavirus in our neighborhoods, we wish to call your attention to the need to support our local municipalities at this time.
As you know, the CARES Act created the Temporary Fiscal Relief for States and Cities (TFRSC) funding provision. While we agree that our states are in need of funding to stabilize their ongoing work, we were disappointed that the agreement only allowed localities with greater than 500,000 residents to apply for these financial resources. We therefore urge you to work with affected communities, including the United States Conference of Mayors, to ensure this much needed funding is reaching our nation’s small and mid-sized cities and towns.
The current provision creates untenable scenarios for the long-term solvency for our small and mid-sized cities and towns with populations under 500,000, which comprise over 99 percent of all cities across our country. Our small and mid-sized cities and towns are on the front lines of saving lives and shoring up our local economies during this crisis. Without strong and immediate support, they will suffer significant revenue loss at a time when their output is increasing in response to the crisis.
We must preserve the survival of our cities and towns, the foundation and backbone of our great nation, and prepare them for the long road ahead for recovery.
Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter.