Statistics compiled by the Washington-based National League of Cities indicate that cities, towns, and villages across the country are expected to be hit with a revenue loss in excess of $134 billion as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and economic shutdown.
The group additionally predicts losses to the tune of $117 billion next year, and around $110 billion in 2022, for a total revenue decline of $360 billion between now and the beginning of 2023.
In response, the NLC has launched an initiative called Cities Are Essential, asking Congress for up to $500 billion in direct and flexible aid to cities, towns, and villages of all sizes.
In a statement, Clarence Anthony, chief executive officer of the NLC, said, “Providing federal relief for municipalities across the nation is critical to advancing the reopening of America and to our national economic recovery, on which millions of jobs and the livelihoods of American families depend.”
According to NLC research, localities generating most of their revenue from sales or income taxes have been hit the hardest by the virus and shutdown. Places that rely more on property tax revenue, have so far seen less of an impact.
According to NLC research director Christiana McFarland, cuts in response to ongoing revenue losses will “exacerbate infrastructure challenges, which will place future fiscal burden on local, state, and federal government.”
In a research paper for the NLC, McFarland also says that a reduction in revenue is leading to a decline in capital projects.
An earlier analysis by the group showed that on average, cities, towns, and villages in the Middle Atlantic States and the Midwest are confronting a probable revenue loss of anywhere from 30 to 40 percent by the end of this year.
Localities in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico are expected to see a revenue decline in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 percent.
Localities in only seven states, Connecticut, Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming, are expected to see total 2020 revenue losses below 15 percent.
By Garry Boulard
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