California, Hard-Pressed Cities Lose in COVID Stimulus Deal As Aid Is Left Out

Monday, December 21, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

A $900 billion coronavirus aid package that Congress passed Monday includes no dedicated money for state or local governments, undercutting hopes that California and many of its cities would be able to close growing budget gaps without major cuts.

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Assembly member Phil Ting, the San Francisco Democrat who chairs the Assembly budget committee, said it was unbelievable that the federal government was not doing everything possible to prevent states and cities from sinking deeper into economic crises.

“State and local governments are the ones primarily providing services to people. During a pandemic, people are relying on their government more than ever before,” Ting said. “The federal government’s responsibility is to be a social safety net during a crisis. That’s why they can borrow money.”

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Yet without new federal aid, California has fewer options for using its $26 billion windfall, much of which must be socked away to replenish state reserve accounts, Ting said.

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