Senator Collins Calls for Swift Passage of Legislation to Provide $500 Billion to Local Governments Amid COVID-19

Maine would receive at least an additional $2 billion through the SMART Act, with more funds available based on revenue shortfalls

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ remarks.  Click HERE to download.

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ floor remarks.

 

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues on the Senate floor this afternoon to urge the Senate to swiftly pass the SMART Act she co-sponsored, which would provide $500 billion in emergency funding to every state, county, and community in the country. 

 

Senators Collins, Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) emphasized the urgent need to advance legislation they introduced earlier this year with Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).  Without federal assistance, governors and local leaders have warned that budget shortfalls caused by the coronavirus crisis will require deep cuts to essential services and layoffs or tax increases.

 

“With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to devastate our public health and our economy, towns and cities across our country are facing increasingly significant new challenges and plummeting revenues at the exact same time,” said Senator Collins.  “These cuts are not theoretical—the harm is not just possible—it is occurring today.  Across Maine, I have heard from the mayors and the town managers of communities about the difficult decisions they face as they attempt to balance their budgets.  For example, Auburn has had to freeze six vacant positions because of expected revenue losses—two firefighters, a police officer, and three public works employees.  These cuts come as the community has spent $200,000 in new expenses responding to the virus.”

 

“Without our providing them relief, communities face having to lay off essential employees and reduce services at the worst possible time for working families,” Senator Collins continued.  “Congress must act to provide assistance to every community.  This is a problem we can solve.  Let’s enact the SMART Act as part of the next coronavirus package.

 

The SMART Act would help alleviate the harm caused by the coronavirus by providing Maine with at least $2 billion, with at least $333 million going to counties and $333 million going to towns and cities.  Moreover, the $1.25 billion allocated to Maine from the CARES Act would be made more flexible – including being eligible to address revenue shortfalls under the SMART Act. 

 

Click HERE to read more about the SMART Act.

 

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