WASHINGTON – As congressional negotiations continue for the next COVID-19 aid package, Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) says whatever comes next must include direct support for local and county governments.
In a Thursday call, Pappas joined New Hampshire State Senate President Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard, Conway Town Manager Thomas Holmes and Hillsborough County Commissioner Toni Pappas (R-Manchester). Those elected officials shared some of the struggles New Hampshire government is seeing at the local level as well as how they will worsen if additional federal support does not make up for pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act only provided aid for states and municipalities with populations over 500,000 with the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act provided funding for municipalities, but only to help pay for the salaries of first responders, frontline health workers and other essential municipal employees.
Congressman Pappas told the panel and others on the call that he hopes Congress came come to a bipartisan agreement that builds on the limited direct support for municipalities in the HEROES Act as they grapple with the budgetary impact of the pandemic.
“Clearly, no one knows how to spend these dollars best in terms of the response efforts and vital services than our counties, cities, towns, and states. There should be a piece of the pie for all these local government entities,” he said. “That’s what needs to be in the legislation that we’re fighting for over the next few days.”
A full copy of the discussion is now available on Youtube.