Cash-strapped cities want states to offer them a larger share of congressional aid

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The National League of Cities compiled a report listing 32 states that are “withholding funding from most municipal governments, including all small and rural municipalities, with no indication of when or if the funds will ever be made available”. States include California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York and South Carolina.

The report was distributed to senators last day and will be sent to all members of Congress to help claim that cities need more direct federal assistance, the League said. Lawmakers asked how the $ 150 billion they have already provided to states and localities is used.

“States don’t know if there will be more dollars coming out of the federal government, so this makes them hesitant to distribute all these dollars right now,” said league executive director Clarence Anthony. “They have to resist and make sure that, while going through this, they are also able to deal with those budgetary shortcomings of the state.”

Congress has set aside $ 150 billion to help states and large municipalities cover coronavirus-related expenses as part of a $ 2 trillion aid package known as the CARES Act. But only 36 municipalities meet the criteria to have more of 500,000 residents, according to the league.

While states are not required to transfer funds, the Treasury Department issued a guide earlier this month to clarify that they can do so. Two states are sending money to counties’ governments and 16 states are allowing municipalities to apply for funds, the League said.

“If cities help restart the American economy, we need those dollars and we need them now,” said Anthony, adding that he hopes more states will distribute the funds to localities.

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Anthony and the National Governors Association both said state and local governments are working together to petition Congress to provide them with more assistance and allow them to use the money to fill budget gaps, not just to cover the costs of the fight. against the virus.

“We have joined our partners in city and county government in asking Congress to approve the necessary help in the form of direct funding to state, city and county governments so that they can continue to provide the services Americans rely on. “said James Nash, an association spokesman.

Last week, the Assembly approved a massive package that would send $ 500 billion to states and $ 375 billion to locations, but Senate Republicans said he died on arrival.

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