- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2020

A group of governors is calling on Congress to help state and U.S. territorial governments with their budgetary shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they need $500 billion to offset the losses.

In a statement Saturday, the National Governors Association, a bipartisan group of 55 governors, said the stay-at-home orders issued across the country have crippled state economies.

The organization’s chair Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and the vice chair New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the stimulus package Congress recently passed overlooked the states’ needs when it comes to the crippling economies and lost revenue that funds a state’s needs.

“We must be allowed to use any state stabilization funds for replacement of lost revenue, and these funds should not be tied to only COVID-19 related expenses. Congress must amend the CARES Act to allow this flexibility for existing federal funding,” they said in a statement.

The group also wants Congress to appropriate another $500 billion strictly for the states and local governments.

“In the absence of unrestricted fiscal support of at least $500 billion from the federal government, states will have to confront the prospect of significant reductions to critically important services all across this country, hampering public health, the economic recovery, and — in turn — our collective effort to get people back to work,” they said.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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