News Releases

Wall Street Journal: Biden Administration to Start Doling Out $350 Billion in Aid to State, Local Governments – MORE HERE 

Senator Murray: “Today’s announcement from the Treasury Department means we’ll be seeing the impact of this relief soon” 

(Washington, D.C.) –U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement on the Treasury Department’s guidance for state and local government funding included in the American Rescue Plan:

“Beating this virus means making sure our state, counties, cities, and towns have the resources to continue an effective and strong response—the relief included in the American Rescue Plan will make that possible and today’s announcement from the Treasury Department means we’ll be seeing the impact of this relief soon,” Senator Murray said. “Washington state families are relying on the people our state and local governments employ—whether it’s our health care workers, our teachers, EMS, transportation workers—to help keep our families safe and healthy and our communities running as the work continues to end this pandemic. The American Rescue Plan will help these front line heroes stay employed and keep our country moving towards the end of this pandemic.”

As Washington state has sustained massive revenue shortfalls while facing a host of increased spending needs, the American Rescue plan would provide much needed direct aid for Washington state and its cities, towns, and counties. Senator Murray has been a leading voice in the Senate in the push for funding to support state, local, and Tribal governments since the start of the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Biden in March.

Under the legislation’s state and local funding provisions alone, Washington state will receive an estimated $4.428 billion, and localities within the state, such as cities and counties, are estimated to receive a total of $2.692 billion. Overall, the $1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan provides $360 billion to states, territories, Tribes, and local governments to be used for responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, to offset revenue losses, to bolster economic recovery and to provide premium pay for essential workers.

Nationwide, state and local governments have had to eliminate 1.3 million jobs since the pandemic began. The need is particularly pronounced at the local level: a National League of Cities survey showed a 21-percent revenue decline on average among cities with losses and the National Association of Counties projected a 20-percent revenue decline. These figures may grow worse over time as property tax revenue decreases have lagged recessions by two years or more.

These budget impacts for localities do not account for increased expenses, which many localities have incurred while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and which were not recognized for most cities and counties in the CARES Act (where money went to only localities with 500,000 persons or more).

State and local fiscal relief funds can be used for local economic recovery purposes, including, assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, and hard-hit industries like tourism, travel, and hospitality, support for public health expenditures, addressing disparities in the hardest hit communities, premium pay for essential workers, and investments in infrastructure such as water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.