Carbajal urges governor to release CARES Act funding to small, mid-size cities and counties
–Late last week, Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) led a bipartisan group of Members of Congress from California in sending a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom requesting the state provide COVID-19 relief funding to small and midsize counties. Other signers of the letter include Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley), Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley), Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), and Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena).
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Congress created a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund to help states and local governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, with $15.3 billion of this fund allocated to the state of California. Only localities with populations of at least 500,000 can access their share of aid directly. It was the intent of Congress for this federal aid to reach every community across the country, both big and small, granting states the power to transfer any portion of funds to localities with populations under 500,000. The letter asks the Governor to provide guidance on when and how small and mid-size governments can access this aid.
“Local governments on the Central Coast and across California have not had access to key coronavirus relief funding within the CARES Act. While future relief funding is important, it’s imperative that the Governor release the already allocated funding to our local communities that did not receive direct funding so they can maintain essential services, said Rep. Salud Carbajal. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and Governor Newsom to bring more relief to our local communities as we continue responding to this public health and economic crisis.”
The letter is one of multiple efforts that Rep. Carbajal is partnering on to secure relief funding for local governments under 500,000 people. Last week, Rep. Carbajal co-led a bipartisan letter to House Leadership with Rep. Paul Cook and other California members requesting future coronavirus relief funding be made available to counties under 500,000.
The full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Governor Newsom,
Thank you for your leadership in guiding the state of California during this unprecedented COVID- 19 pandemic. As communities across California continue suffering the devastating health and economic impacts of coronavirus, we write to inquire into the state’s plans to use its allocation of federal aid from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to assist small and mid-size local governments at the forefront of the local response to this public health crisis.
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, 2020, Congress created a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide economic stabilization assistance to states and local governments. It was the intent of Congress for these funds to help every community across the country, both big and small, giving states the power to transfer funds to local governments of any size. California’s allocation from this fund is $15.3 billion, with localities serving populations of at least 500,000 eligible to receive a share of aid directly from the U.S. Treasury.
Localities in our congressional districts fall under the population threshold for direct assistance from this fund and they are in dire need of financial assistance, now. We have been working closely with our local governments, along with our state and local elected officials, to bring federal relief funds to our communities as quickly as possible. We respectfully urge you to provide swift guidance to local governments with populations under 500,000 regarding when and how they can access any transfer of funds from the state from its Coronavirus Relief Fund allocation.
Understanding that there are improvements to be made at the federal level, we are working hard in Congress to secure additional relief funds for states and local governments; provide local governments of all sizes the ability to receive direct federal assistance; and ensure flexibility for this funding to replace losses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter. We look forward to working together to help all our communities respond to this public health crisis.
Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th Congressional District, encompassing all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and part of Ventura County.