Members of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to pass $1 trillion in direct relief for state and local governments.
“State, local and tribal governments are critical to our recovery. In the short-term, they must be able to scale-up necessary programs, like contact tracing and testing,” the signers said. “Given budget shortfalls, they are also soon facing impossible decisions – like whether to fund additional safety measures related to COVID-19 that will help businesses reopen more quickly or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other first responders.”
The letter, signed by business executives — including Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff — outlines the budgetary challenges facing state, local and tribal governments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, massive and sudden losses in revenue are making it nearly impossible for state and local governments to fund critical health infrastructure like contact tracing and testing, while still providing critical services like public education and public safety.
“COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we will manage our businesses and organizations going forward, with the worst of the economic impact likely still to come,” the letter continues. “Reopening our economies is a welcome step forward, but the success of our efforts ultimately relies on building greater confidence among consumers that it is safe to shop and greater certainty for workers that the services they rely on to do their jobs will remain in place. Without that, we will be a re-opened economy in name only.”
The Governor last month convened the Task Force, co-chaired by Governor Newsom’s Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary and philanthropist, environmentalist and businessman Tom Steyer, to chart a path forward on recovery in the wake of COVID-19.
A copy of the Task Force’s letter can be found at here.