Many Cities Expect To Slash Public Services As A Result Of Major Budget Shortfalls

(PatrioticPost.Com)- The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted life in almost every way possible.
A lot of press has been given to the dire economic circumstances it has created for businesses, and the fallout for their workers. Unemployment numbers are skyrocketing, and federal government bailouts and assistance is needed to support the country’s economy.
On Tuesday, a report was released that showed another area affected by the coronavirus pandemic that not many people were thinking about before — local governments.
A survey shows that more than 2,100 cities in the U.S. are expecting major budget shortfalls in 2020, which will force them to not only cut staff but also slash programs and services that were built into the budget. The only way to avoid this, mayors said, is direct financial aid from the federal government.
The survey was conducted by the National League of Cities in conjunction with the U.S> Conference of Mayors. The NLC’s executive director, Clarence Anthony, said:
“There’s no question that the coronavirus pandemic has had, and will have, a major impact on cities of all sizes.”
The big reason for the projected shortfalls is declining tax revenues. With businesses forcing to close, people losing their jobs and tourism almost completely disappearing, revenue these cities would normally see is simply not there.
Almost 90% of the mayors polled in the survey said they expected a shortfall of revenue this year. More than half of the cities polled said they would need to cut back on public services they offer as a result.
In addition, 600 cities said they’d have to lay off a portion of government workers to compensate. And approximately 1,000 city leaders said they’d have to reduce police department staff and members of other public safety agencies.
Unlike the federal government, local governments can’t run deficits, for the most part. This means that when there is a shortfall in a budget, immediate changes have to be made to correct it. And the only way to make those corrections is to slash services and workers.
It’s why many local governments are calling for the federal government to step up and help them in any way possible. For his part, President Donald Trump said the federal government was looking into more aid programs, saying on Monday he is “certainly willing to look at that.”
As part of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package Congress passed in March, there is roughly $150 billion in aid for states and large cities. But many of these city leaders are saying it doesn’t help their budgets, since the money can only be used to respond directly to the coronavirus pandemic, and not close budget gaps.
For example, leaders in San Francisco expect their budget shortfall could reach $1.7 billion over the next two fiscal years. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed $1.3 billion in cuts to the city’s budget as well as a freeze on hiring.
Expect these local city leaders, and even governors of states, to ramp up the push for federal assistance in the near future. Without it, the picture could look grim all around the country.