The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid invoice that the U.S. Home of Representatives handed Wednesday accommodates “unprecedented” help for Baltimore, which — like different cities and counties — has seen revenues plunge due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin stated.
“That is my fifteenth 12 months and I don’t know of a extra vital invoice that we handed,” stated Cardin, a Democrat from Baltimore. “The help to Baltimore Metropolis is unprecedented. We’ve got not had a invoice that gives such a big quantity of assist to our city facilities.”
The American Rescue Plan, which the Home accepted 220-211 on Wednesday, was Democratic President Joe Biden’s first main initiative since taking workplace Jan. 20. Biden vowed to “put aside the politics and eventually face this pandemic as one nation.”
Baltimore will get about $670 million, whereas the state will independently obtain about $4 billion, in response to Cardin and fellow Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, additionally a Democrat. Cardin and Van Hollen advocated for the invoice within the Senate, the place it handed 50-49 on Saturday with out Republican help.
Republicans argued the measure was too expensive and contained spending unrelated to the pandemic.
State, metropolis and county governments suffered budgetary results from the pandemic. They haven’t solely sustained deep income losses as a consequence of declining spending by residents and vacationers, however have needed to spend cash for functions — similar to extra workers hours and medical provides — associated to the pandemic.
The newest U.S. authorities assist is “way more versatile than the sooner CARES Act funds have been,” stated Van Hollen, referring to a $2.2 trillion financial aid package deal Congress accepted on the outset of the pandemic a 12 months in the past.
For instance, the just-passed invoice permits reimbursement for anticipated revenues misplaced as a consequence of COVID-19, whereas the CARES Act didn’t.
Baltimore finance officers warned final month that town ought to anticipate to really feel “a whole lot of ache” for years to come back as a result of pandemic. Whereas Baltimore’s spending plan for fiscal 12 months 2021 was primarily based upon projections of a dramatic $100 million lower in income on account of the pandemic, even these predictions missed the mark.
Price range Director Bob Cenname advised a Baltimore Metropolis Council committee that town was $30 million short of its already truncated revenue projection for the fiscal 12 months that ends June 30. It’s very doubtless town might want to faucet a wet day fund to cowl the deficit on the finish of the fiscal 12 months, he stated.
The federal American Rescue Plan may also expands little one tax and Earned Earnings Tax Credit, ship many People direct funds and lengthen a $300 weekly unemployment complement profit.
“We expect that is the appropriate sort of response so we don’t return right into a downturn in our financial system that might be extra expensive to our finances, put extra demand on governmental providers and enhance the debt even bigger,” Cardin stated.
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