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Federal Government

Posted on: May 20, 2020

Bipartisan Local & State COVID Assistance Bills Introduced in Both Houses of Congress

On Monday, Senator Bob Menendez introduced in the Upper House S.3752, the State and Municipal Aid for Recovery and Transition (SMART) bill. Yesterday, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill introduced its companion, H.R. 6954, in the House.

We thank Senator Menendez and Representative Sherrill, not only for working to address the budgetary problems that the pandemic has visited on local and state revenues, but for building solid bipartisan support for their bills. Sponsors for S.3753 include three Republicans and three Democrats, including our Junior Senator Cory Booker. H.R. 6954 lists as cosponsors five Democrats and five Republicans, including New Jersey’s Josh Gottheimer. That kind of across-the-aisle support will be crucial to success in Congress.  

If enacted, the SMART Fund would create a $500 billion fund to help states and all local governments respond to the current public health and economic crisis, while maintaining essential services. The funding would be evenly divided into three pools, and distributed based on:

1) state and local population; 2) COVID-19 infection rates, as of June 1; and 3) state and local revenue losses during 2020.

Municipalities, nationwide, would receive one-sixth of the funds in each allocation, minus a $16 billion set-aside for hard-hit tribal governments. That $80.6 billion for all municipalities, regardless of size, would be matched by another $80.6 billion for all American counties.

Monies from the relative population formula and the relative infected population proportion formula would be distributed this year. The relative lost revenue proportion, based on the difference between 2019 and 2020 revenues, would come in the first quarter of 2021.

Please reach out to Senators Menendez and Booker, and to Representatives Sherrill and Gottheimer, to thank them for recognizing that, without federal support, municipal revenue losses will force cuts to vital services, as well as pay cuts, furloughs and lay-offs to essential personnel. Thank them, also, for seeing the importance of advancing a ‘red state/blue state’ solution to what is truly an American red, white, and blue crisis.

Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x121.


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