A bipartisan group of western governors has written to the U.S. senators involved in COVID-19 relief discussions to ask for an equitable aid formula 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 letter reads, referring to a proposed $908 billion plan with $160 billion in state and local aid.
The signatories to the letter include Govs. Jared Polis; Gary Herbert, R-Utah; Doug Ducey, R-Ariz.; and Steve Sisolak, D-Nev. Pointing out that the proposal would allocate federal dollars partly based on population and also by revenue losses, they argued the formula would disadvantage western states that “have had minimal business shutdowns” 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,” the governors added.
The Hill reported on Friday about the continued standoff over comprehensive pandemic relief legislation, largely stemming from Senate Republicans’ insistence on a liability shield for businesses over COVID-19-related litigation. The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved $2.2 trillion in assistance through the Heroes Act earlier this year, but the Republican-controlled Senate has not reciprocated.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a revision to the letter's language about a preferred formula.