Faced with the mounting costs of battling COVID-19, state governors across the United States are pushing for more federal relief as coronavirus infections soar and local hospital systems scramble to make room for patients the Associated Press reported.
Democratic governors from the across the Midwest joined Tuesday (Nov. 17) on a conference call, with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers calling for Congress to pass a new coronavirus relief bill, the AP reported.
“There are workers and families and farmers and small businesses that are going to need our help, and frankly, we can’t do it alone,” Evers told his fellow governors from across the region, according to the AP. “We’re going to need a robust federal support system to help our states and economies recover beyond the federal CARES funds that expire at the end of the year.”
The plea for more federal aid by Wisconsin’s governor comes as state, tribal and territorial governments face an astronomical budget gap of as much as $275 billion to $415 billion over the next 20 months, the news service reported, citing the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
States will bear the overwhelming share of that number, with red ink of anywhere from nearly $200 billion to just under $400 billion, Moody’s Analytics reported, per the AP, with the range contingent on the damage caused by the coronavirus in the months ahead.
And the level of distress caused by the pandemic, and the amount of money states will have to spend trying to contain it, if anything, appears to be getting steadily worse.
Meanwhile, as they plead for federal help, states continue to pump ever-increasing amounts of cash into efforts to help businesses and individuals cope with the fallout from the pandemic. State lawmakers in Vermont have set aside $75 million to help businesses, restaurants and resorts whose business has been ravaged by the pandemic, with grants of up to $300,000, the AP reported.