May 19 2020
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced her support for the State and Municipal Assistance for Recovery and Transition Act, which would provide $500 billion in federal aid to states and localities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic:
“California went from a projected $6 billion surplus to an expected $54 billion deficit this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just as Congress provided significant relief for businesses and families, we should also help communities so they won’t have to cut critical services and jobs and lay off workers.
“The bill would create a $500 billion fund to help cities, counties and states weather this crisis. The funds would be awarded based on population, coronavirus infection rates and revenue lost from the pandemic.
“This bill will distribute aid fairly to communities based on need. States like California shouldn’t be denied funds when their budgets have taken a hit because of a pandemic beyond their control.
“Instead of forcing states and localities to lay off teachers, firefighters, police officers and other essential public employees to balance their budgets, this bill is a bipartisan, commonsense approach to helping states and communities during these tough economic times.”
What’s in the bill:
The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) would allocate $484 billion to state and local governments through three equally divided tranches:
- Population Size: Funding would be allocated proportionally to all 50 states, Washington D.C. and U.S. territories based on population. Counties and municipalities would both receive one-sixth of their state’s funding allocated proportionally based on population.
- Infection Rates: Funding would be allocated proportionally based on each state’s share of the national infection rate. Counties and municipalities would both receive one-sixth of their state’s funding allocated proportionally based on population.
- Revenue Losses: Funding would be allocated proportionally based on each state’s share of the combined revenue loss of all 50 states from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Counties and municipalities would both receive one-sixth of their state’s funding allocated proportionally based on each county or municipality’s share of the combined revenue loss of all counties and municipalities in the state during that time period.
Support for tribal governments: The remaining $16 billion would be used to provide relief to tribal governments impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Direct funding for all local governments: The bill does not impose a population threshold, ensuring that every county and municipality will receive direct funding.
Flexible use of funds: Funding can be used by state and local governments for coronavirus responses, including to pay for operational expenses, offset lost revenue or pay for the local cost-share for FEMA Public Assistance grants. That flexibility would also be applied retroactively to the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund included in the CARES Act.