Governors of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada Make Bipartisan Push to Ensure Western States Can Fairly Address Financial & Public Health Impacts of Pandemic
Dec. 11, 2020 - Four Western Governors, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak are urging Congress to ensure that states can fairly address the financial and public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan group of Governors sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate involved in the bicameral COVID relief legislation.
“Colorado is focused on building back stronger than before and we need a federal stimulus package that does not disadvantage low-tax states,” said Gov. Polis. “All states and local governments are on the frontlines of the response to this once in a century pandemic, and we need Washington to provide a relief package that is fair and helps us respond swiftly to the unique challenges created by this crisis.”
"The current proposal in the bipartisan bill is not a good indicator of the economic impact of the virus and will result in an unfair distribution of desperately needed federal funds across the states, putting states like Nevada further behind on the path toward a full economic recovery,” said Gov. Sisolak. “I am glad to join Governor Polis and other Western governors in strongly encouraging leaders to revise the revenue formula to be either a straight-forward proportional distribution by population or other indicator that reflects economic loss irrespective of a state's tax and spending policies."
The full letter is below. A signed version can be found here.
Dear Senators Cassidy, Manchin, King, Collins, Warner, Shaheen, Murkowski, Romney, and Hassan:
Thank you for your strong bipartisan leadership and efforts to propose a framework to help provide critical economic relief to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you work to draft this bipartisan stimulus package, Western Governors urge you to ensure that the distribution of the proposed state and local aid formula remains equitable for all states.
Unfortunately, the proposed state and local aid formula in the bipartisan bill is not a good indicator of the economic impact of the virus, and will unfairly and inequitably distribute revenue across the states. The current formula, which distributes ⅓ of the state share on the basis of population and ⅔ allocated by revenue loss, would significantly disadvantage Western states like ours that have a low tax rate and have had minimal business shutdowns during this pandemic, as compared to other states. As such, we would strongly encourage you to consider revising the revenue formula to be either a straight-forward proportional distribution by population or other fair indicator that reflects economic loss irrespective of a state's tax and spending policies.
As states continue to lead the fight against COVID-19, we very much hope you consider our request to equitably ensure we can address the financial and public health impacts of the pandemic.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis
Utah Governor Gary Herbert
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak