Some Texas mayors are working the delegation to ensure the measure includes “direct and flexible fiscal assistance to all cities across the nation” as Congress works on a new coronavirus relief package that may help millions of Americans.
According to the Texas Tribune, 97 mayors have signed a letter to Congress requesting additional funding to help with revenue losses brought on by the pandemic. It claims that “the budget crisis looming over local governments is real and calls for extraordinary measures.”
The CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund was appreciated by the mayors, according to the letter, but only cities with 500,000 or more residents benefited directly from it. The funds could only be split among 18 states and jurisdictions due to certain conditions. The fund gave $11.24 billion to Texas.
Application period for Harris County’s $30 million grant program for small businesses affected by COVID-19 is now open.
The letter claims that “this language leaves out hundreds of Texas cities with millions of residents.” “We simply do not comprehend the CARES Act’s population cutoff. Simply put, local governments with populations under 500,000 will not be shielded from revenue losses during this crisis by some mystical force.”
Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, and Fort Worth are among the Texas cities and counties that received a direct allocation of the funds, along with Bexar County, Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, El Paso County, Fort Bend County, Harris County, Hidalgo County, Montgomery County, Tarrant County, Travis County, and Williamson County.
The letter claims that Congress placed restrictions on the recipients’ use of the funds. The letter requests more latitude with regard to the fourth bill. The mayors also expressed concern that, given that state and local governments “account for 75 percent of our nation’s infrastructure investment,” their municipal bond markets and ratings will suffer if they don’t receive aid soon.
The letter states, “We are confident that, working together, our nation can overcome this crisis.