Senator Collins Calls for Swift Passage of Legislation to Provide $500 Billion to State and Local Governments

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 their SMART Act, which would provide $500 billion in emergency funding to every state, county, and community in the country. 

 

During the colloquy, Senators Collins, Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) emphasized the urgent need to advance legislation they introduced on Monday with Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Cindy Hyde Smith (R-MS).  Without federal assistance, governors and local leaders have warned of deep cuts to essential services and layoffs or tax increases in order to address budget shortfalls.

 

“As the virus damages our health and deprives us of our loved ones, it has also devastated our communities and our economy.  As of last week, nearly 20 percent of Maine’s total civilian work force had filed for unemployment,” said Senator Collins from the Senate Floor.  “One in six Mainers is employed in the public sector.  These are the individuals who keep our communities and our citizens safe – the police officers, the firefighters, the EMS personnel.  They provide health care and education.  They maintain our roads and bridges.  When I visited the Orono Fire Department recently to deliver some much-needed masks, the Town Manager told me that the decline in excise taxes has been devastating for this town. Maine communities tell me that they will have no choice but to either increase property taxes at the worst possible time for working families or eliminate first responder jobs and slash education funding if they do not receive help.”

 

“The fallout from the coronavirus is unprecedented,” Senator Collins continued.  “Congress has a tremendous responsibility to help mitigate the impact of this crisis on our states and our local communities, and on the families they serve.  We must not wait; we should act now.”

 

Moody’s forecasts that Maine may face one of the worst impacts in the entire country in terms of lost revenues.  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.