LAS VEGAS (AP) — Governors and legislative leaders from five western states that are coordinating their response to the coronavirus outbreak asked Congress on Monday to send $1 trillion to state and local governments across the U.S. in the next federal aid package.
Officials from California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington said in a letter to leaders of both parties in the U.S. House and Senate that they will have to make deep budgets cuts without more federal aid. That could include to services such as health programs and job training designed to help those hit hard by the virus.
“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,” the letter stated.
The governors and officials said $1 trillion in direct, flexible payments to state and local governments will not make up for the big hits their budgets are expected to take, but “it will make a meaningful difference” in their ability to keep services running. The Assembly minority leader in California was the lone Republican to sign the letter.
It’s not yet clear what another congressional aid package might look like or what type of proposal could gather bipartisan support.