It appears that the Trump Administration is willing to include some funding for mid-sized and smaller municipalities in the next COVID-19 response legislation. Reliable reports out of Washington indicate the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have agreed that the virus is forcing towns with fewer than 500,000 residents to make expenditures not anticipated when their budgets were adopted.
In addition to funding needed for the Payroll Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses, increased appropriations for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and additional money for hospitals, the agreement is reported to include an additional $150 billion to state and local governments.
Of the $150 billion, $65.45 billion would be provided to state governments based on population, with another $20 billion allocated to states based on their share of the national COVID-19 infection rate. Another $11 billion would go to territories and tribes, and $53.55 billion would be distributed to local governments.
Under the CDBG block grants formula for the local government share, 70% of the $53.55 billion would go to “entitlement areas.” Those are defined as cities with more than 50,000 residents or urban counties with more than 200,000 people, not counting eligible cities. The remaining 30% would go to local governments that don’t meet that threshold.
This agreement would provide New Jersey municipalities with some federal support. But it would be far less than the $4.5 billion, which Garden State local governments would have divided (based on population), pursuant to the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, introduced last week, in the House of Representatives.
Please contact Senators Menendez and Booker and your District Representative in the House. Thank them for all they’ve done to date. And remind them that the virus is impacting the lives of all citizens, no matter how large or small their hometowns may be.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x121.