17 state treasurers call on Congress to approve stimulus with $350 billion in state and local aid
- Every elected Democratic state treasurer is calling on Congress to approve $350 billion in local and state aid.
- In a letter, treasurers outlined the impact the funding could have on jobs and vaccine efforts.
- Insider spoke to three state treasurers about their support for the funding.
Every elected Democratic state treasurer is calling on Congress to approve the
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"I think the biggest gap between the president's proposal and the Republican proposal relates to [$350 billion] or so going to states and localities," Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters, according to USA Today. "That kind of number just makes no sense at all."
Insider spoke with treasurers from Kansas, Wisconsin, and Iowa about the necessity for more fundingIn the letter, the 17 treasurers say that state and municipalities are using their limited resources to fight the pandemic - but a fuller economic recovery will also require investment in long-term growth.
"Congress has the power - and the responsibility - to step in and fill the gap during this emergency," they write. "It's the only way that states can avoid more cuts to services needed by small and large businesses, hospitals, schools, health care facilities, and vaccination efforts."The treasurers also note that funding would help support essential frontline workers like firefighters, teachers, and healthcare workers. "What we're worried about in the future - and the reason that we need to get this to local cities and counties and local municipalities - is that, while some of their PPE expenses and testing and things were covered with
Rogers said Kansas was able to put some of its initial CARES money toward broadband expansion, but that's just one area that needs more investment.
That's also been the case in Wisconsin, whose Treasurer Sarah Godlewski said, "We are seeing a significant increase in expenses, whether it is for PPE [or] to additional safety precautions that they have to take. At the same time, we're seeing a decrease in revenues."And Iowa's Michael Fitzgerald said that while his state currently has a balanced budget, the money that's come through so far has been mostly allocated to bigger corporations or farmers. The state's aging unemployment system still requires updates, he said, making it difficult to disperse extended unemployment benefits to residents.
"We need more money to help the people in the bottom half," Fitzgerald said.
In response to a JPMorgan report that showed states did not see as significant drops as expected in tax revenues (although losses were uneven), White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said "our objective is to focus on not what JPMorgan reports, but what state, local governments and others are telling us they need to ensure that the people in their districts.""We are cutting costs, whether it's at the state or local level," Godlewski said. "We are being scrappy, and figuring out how we can reallocate resources in ways that we've never imagined before."
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