As Congress debates what should be in the next round of stimulus funding — and who in America should receive assistance — Gov. Larry Hogan and local leaders are keeping a close eye on what potential assistance lies ahead.
Earlier this week, Hogan was frank about recent discussions surrounding a stimulus bill. Both he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently penned a letter to Congressional leaders, asking for monetary relief to state governments due to economic losses during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The current proposal on the floor in the Senate has some flexibility on previous money, which is helpful, and has some education funding,” Hogan (R) said during a press conference Wednesday. “That’s helpful. But does it even mention funding to the states and local governments? It doesn’t. Which is disastrous.”
For Hogan and governors nationwide, that federal relief would help states recover lost revenue due to the pandemic, along with providing money necessary to continue important services during the pandemic, like unemployment insurance.
Delegates Jesse Pippy (R-Frederick and Carroll) and Carol Krimm (D-Frederick) both have been helping many of their constituents navigate services throughout the coronavirus pandemic, whether that be connecting them to unemployment insurance or other needs.
Pippy, chair of the Frederick County delegation in Annapolis, said when shutdowns began in March, his office experienced a lot of requests for unemployment insurance assistance. That has lessened in recent months, although some are still unemployed and need assistance, he added. But as Congress debates another round of stimulus, it’s important that Congress target those that actually still need financial assistance with this latest bill, Pippy said.
“I think that any stimulus needs to be kind of measured against … any progress that we have made,” Pippy said. “At the start, there was a complete economic shutdown and it was likely needed to keep people together, and to keep food on the table … any money that’s given out [now], it needs to be measured.”
Still, he understands that some people are still hurting, and need assistance. Krimm, who sits on the House of Delegates’ Appropriations Committee, said she’s concerned about not only unemployment insurance, but also the demand for funds to help those facing eviction.
The state is facing great revenue shortfalls due to sales tax, casino revenue and other areas hurt by the pandemic, Krimm added. She and other state officials will have a greater idea of that impact by the end of August, when the state’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates reports estimated lost revenue during the pandemic, she said.
“This is a real big threat to working families and making sure they have a roof over their heads and food on their tables,” Krimm said. “I know there are people who are not in a situation where it’s drastic, but there are members of our community that are barely hanging on right now, and without the protections that are in place right now, it’s going to be difficult.”
Like Hogan, Krimm was concerned that nothing in recently proposed stimulus bills had language concerning assistance to state and local governments.
Hogan said in order to help states nationwide — including Maryland — Congress needs to pass some sort of stimulus bill and get it to President Donald Trump’s desk quickly.
“The governors are on the front lines providing much needed services to people who really need them. More services to more people than ever,” Hogan said.
“I don’t care about the specifics, if it’s a Republican bill or Democrat bill,” he added. “We’re fighting about this or that. Just get some kind of a bipartisan consensus and get something done because to not do something would be a disaster.”