California Mayors Coalition Member and Mayor of Fontana Acquanetta Warren recently joined forces with Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, to make a strong bipartisan call for federal assistance. The following is the letter they sent to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, United States House of Representatives; Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, United States Senate; Kevin McCarthy, Republican Leader, United States House of Representatives; and Chuck Schumer, Democratic Leader, United States Senate.
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer,
As leaders of national local organizations, we are writing to make a bipartisan request to include direct flexible fiscal aid to localities and states in the next COVID-19 Relief Package that Congress will consider this month. Local and state governments have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and are facing significant budget deficits due to the dual impact of rising demands for services and plummeting revenues. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across this country in an indiscriminate way – rural, suburban, and urban areas; young and old.
This is not and should not be a partisan issue. The Coronavirus has made it clear that it does not care whether you are Democrat or Republican or live in a “blue” state or “red” state. As you consider this request we hope that you will use four principles to guide your decision-making:
- Funding must be directly allocated to cities, especially to cities under 500,000 in population.
- Mayors and local governments must be able to utilize this funding in a flexible way that includes making up for revenue lost by the evaporation of economic activity due to the pandemic.
- Additional funding must be made beyond the CARES Act, especially to ensure that cities have the financial capacity to endure the virus which has continues to plague our citizens and economy and shows no signs of slowing.
- If local businesses are going to open – doing the best they can to be responsible – they need to know that our city, state and national government leaders will have their back. If it’s not safe for them to open, the economy will fail.
Cities and metro areas are the economic engines of this country, providing over 90 percent of the nation’s GDP. If you want to reopen America safely and robustly, America’s cities are the place to begin. We are in unprecedented times. Cities cannot be expected to shoulder the burden of economic recovery alone and the federal government must be our economic partner in this endeavor. With strengthened cities, businesses will find their footing again, joblessness will decline, and we will be able to continue to address the pandemic while keeping our cities open.
Eric Garcetti, President National Conference of Democratic Mayors Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
Acquanetta Warren, Chairwoman Forum for Community Leaders Mayor of Fontana, CA