Yesterday the Assembly passed by a vote of 57-20 A-3971 which authorizes the issuance of “coronavirus relief bonds” by municipalities and counties. Specifically, A-3971 permits municipalities to issue bonds for the loss of revenue and/or unanticipated expenses directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic with appropriate safeguards and Local Finance Board oversight. The Senate companion, S-2475 awaits consideration by a Senate committee.
As we have previously noted, the League strongly supports the swift passage and signing of the bill. Unlike previous emergencies, COVID-19 is a major revenue loss event, in addition to being an expense related event. A one size fits all solution is not the best approach toward addressing revenue shortfalls and increased expenses. Municipal budgets continue to be lean and the current options available to municipalities may work for some municipalities but for most the pandemic will create long term financial problems. Without this legislation, to address the revenue shortfall some municipalities would be required to take extreme measures that would gut local government eliminating critical public service. Local governments need the flexibility that A-3971 and S-2475 provide to limit the impact on property taxpayers.
We request that you contact your State Senator urging them to support this much-needed tool for local governments in an unprecedented time and a loss of revenue that will not be recaptured for several years, if ever. Further, we request that you consider sending a letter or adopting the sample resolution expressing your support of A-3971/S-2475.
• Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x120
• Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x112.