PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown has joined other state leaders from the five-state "Western States Pact" in lobbying Congress to distribute additional funding to state and local governments reeling from the economic impacts of the coronavirus shutdown and response.
The Governors and legislative leaders of Oregon, California, Washington, Colorado, and Nevada all signed off on a letter addressed to the heads of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, asking them for $1 trillion in "direct and flexible relief" to state and local governments in order to prevent major cuts to public services.
While Democrats in the House and Senate have moved to support another major stimulus bill, Republicans and the Trump administration have signaled resistance.
The full letter may be read 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.
Governor of California
President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate
Speaker of the California State Assembly
Minority Leader of the California State Assembly
Governor of Colorado
President of the Colorado State Senate
Majority Leader of the Colorado State Senate
Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives
Majority Leader of the Colorado House of Representatives
Governor of Oregon
Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
President of the Oregon Senate
Governor of Nevada
Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate
Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly
Governor of Washington
Majority Leader of the Washington State Senate
Speaker of the Washington House of Representatives