Pingree Backs Bill to Deliver $500B in Flexible Aid to States Facing Revenue Shortfalls Due to Pandemic Response
Portland, Maine, April 27, 2020
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today cosponsored H.R. 6592, a bill that would allocate $500 billion to state and local governments based on population size and give state officials flexibility to disburse the funds. The Coronavirus Relief for States Act aims to deliver much-needed relief to states which have worked aggressively to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and lost critical revenue in the process.
“With income and sales tax revenues drastically reduced, Maine is facing its largest shortfall in over three decades,” said Pingree. “As a former state legislator, I know how severely this will impact our public health and economic response to this crisis without immediate federal assistance. The Coronavirus Relief for States Act would provide states like ours with a significant boost and give state officials the flexibility needed to fill in the revenue gaps created by this pandemic.”
The bill would allow states flexibility to use the funding as needed but advises that it be used to address necessary expenditures incurred by the state during the public health response to COVID-19, replacement for lost revenue from COVID-19, or efforts to support the state’s economic recovery after the crisis.
Oxford Economics found that Maine ranks top in the United States for economic vulnerability due to the state’s older population and high percentage of small businesses in the retail, hospitality, and tourism industries.
Earlier in April, Pingree cosponsored the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, a bill to provide $250 billion in funding to smaller local governments. The CARES Act appropriated a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for local aid; however, cities and counties below 500,000 do not meet the population requirement in the bill and thus will not receive direct federal aid. With a statewide population of only 1.3 million, Maine has no municipalities or counties that contain more than 500,000 people. The Coronavirus Community Relief Act would fix that issue by creating a new fund for local governments with populations under 500,000.