National Governors Association asks Congress for $500 billion to stabilize state budget

The National Governors Association called on Congress to pass another stimulus bill– this time for $500 billion specifically to stabilize state budgets.

In a news release posted to the NGA website on Saturday, the organization says state governments need a federal bailout. NGA chairman, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, and the NGA vice chairman, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said in the press release:

“Despite this grave challenge, the recently passed federal CARES Act contained zero funding to offset these drastic state revenue shortfalls. To stabilize state budgets and to make sure states have the resources to battle the virus and provide the services the American people rely on, Congress must provide immediate fiscal assistance directly to all states.

“We must be allowed to use any state stabilization funds for replacement of lost revenue, and these funds should not be tied to only COVID-19 related expenses. Congress must amend the CARES Act to allow this flexibility for existing federal funding.

“Moreover, Congress must appropriate an additional $500 billion specifically for all states and territories to meet the states’ budgetary shortfalls that have resulted from this unprecedented public health crisis. This critical stabilization funding for states must be separate from much-needed fiscal stabilization for local governments.

“In the absence of unrestricted fiscal support of at least $500 billion from the federal government, states will have to confront the prospect of significant reductions to critically important services all across this country, hampering public health, the economic recovery, and — in turn — our collective effort to get people back to work.”

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor, 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment during the week ending April 4. In a three-week span, more than 14 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as a result of the economic shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As of Saturday, there were 522,188 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and 20,061 coronavirus-related deaths.

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