By Erlinda Doherty
Amplifying NCSL’s already vociferous efforts to secure additional direct and flexible funding for states, NCSL hosted its first virtual briefing for Senate congressional staff as senators consider the next phase of federal response.
The goal of the briefing was to educate the Senate on the need for a fourth stimulus package that would include additional financial resources for states.
Presenting powerful and much-needed frontline perspectives state Senator Briggs Hopson, Mississippi’s Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Representative Marvin Abney, Rhode Island’s Chairman of the House Finance Committee argued in favor of additional—and timely—direct flexible aid for states.
Hopson stated that Mississippi was in good financial footing going into the COVID crisis, but that his state is now considering a 6.5% cut to most state agencies because of a $1 billion estimate in revenue losses. Abney stated that his legislature is battling tough choices, and is negotiating with other lawmakers on how to prioritize—and re-prioritize—finite resources: “Do you cut state employees? Do you cut public safety? Do you cut education? We are discussing these priorities right now just as other states are trying to finish their budgets.”
The loss of revenue from all sectors of the economy, from income to sales taxes, has had a disastrous effect on state budgets.
NCSL presented data based on collection of state revenue projections estimates that states will endure a 15-25% decrease in revetotaling approximately $350 billion. Other economists have predicted much worse—some as much as $765 billion for the last quarter of FY20, FY21 and heading into FY22 totaling approximately $350 billion. Other economists have predicted much worse—some as much as $765 billion.
Erlinda Doherty is director of NCSL's budgets and revenue committee.