WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today joined Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and local leaders from across the state to demand more federal emergency funding for state, local and tribal governments. Many Wisconsin communities are in dire financial positions due to the cost of unplanned and unprecedented expenses from the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, coupled with lost revenue from the economic downturn. Wisconsin communities are already tapping into rainy-day funds, cutting budgets, and debating furloughs and layoffs. Without action from Congress, Wisconsinites will lose access to services they rely on every day and essential workers could lose their jobs.
The Heroes Act, passed by the House of Representatives over a month ago creates new state and local coronavirus relief funds to help first responders, frontline health workers, transit employees, teachers and other workers providing vital services. On Monday night, Senate Democrats attempted to pass emergency funding for state, local and tribal governments who are finalizing their budgets and may be forced to cut vital services and lay off essential workers. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans blocked the bill.
“For months now, state and local governments have been on the frontlines of our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The House passed the HEROES Act, which includes more federal funding to our state and local governments in Wisconsin as they work to provide essential public services. Wisconsin towns, cities and counties need federal help to cover budgetary shortfalls that have resulted from this ongoing public health crisis and economic downturn,” said Senator Baldwin. “It’s past time for Senate Majority Leader McConnell to bring up the HEROES Act in the Senate and pass it so local governments in Wisconsin have the relief they need to move forward.”
“Firefighters, EMTs, teachers, and other public servants are the lifelines in their communities,” said Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “Without additional federal support, Wisconsin and our local governments will not be able to address the unforeseen financial challenges this pandemic has caused. It will come at the cost of essential services people are relying on, now more than ever.”
“Without a way to recoup some of these revenue losses, our county will have no way to ensure residents will continue to receive the necessary critical services they depend on,” said Casey Bradley, Adams County Manager/Administrative Coordinator.
“This pandemic response finds an already fragile EMS system now facing new financial and operational stressors that are likely to have long-term, and potentially disastrous, impacts on our industry,” said Brian Donaldson, Director, Waushara County EMS and Vice President, Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services Association.
“While Kenosha County has been growing in recent years, the events related to this emergency could have serious consequences for us as well. We have seen a decline in sales tax revenue, interest on investments and are concerned about the potential significant increase in the amount of property taxes that may go delinquent at the end of July and how that will affect our ability to pay for increases we are seeing in the Health Department, Human Services and other areas,” said Teri Jacobson, Kenosha County Treasurer.
An online version of this release is available here.