California and four other states request $1 trillion in relief funds

Gavin Newsom

California and four other western states have jointly requested a combined total of $1 trillion in coronavirus relief funding from the federal government.

The governors and legislative leaders of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado authored a letter asking for $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to state and local governments. The state officials addressed the letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Without federal support, states and cities will be forced to make impossible decisions — like whether to fund critical public healthcare that will help us recover, or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other first responders,” the letter states. “Though even this amount will not replace the decline in revenue that we forecast, it will make a meaningful difference in our ability to make up for COVID-19 revenue losses.”

California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado state leaders say they are seeing a record amount of lost wages and business failures, as well as spiraling unemployment and other coronavirus-driven costs. But, the worst of the economic impact is yet to come, the letter states. 

“And, without additional assistance, the very programs that will help people get back to work — like job training and help for small business owners — will be forced up on the chopping block,” the letter says.

The letter does not state the amount of funding the individual states are seeking. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed the letter, stated in a tweet that the five western states need the federal funds to protect schools, public health and public safety services. California is now facing budget deficits of tens of billions of dollars, Newsom said.

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