States across the country have shelled out billions of dollars to pay for the public health response to the pandemic at the same time the economic standstill has sent state revenue sources into a nose-dive. On Friday, Hogan froze all spending unrelated to the coronavirus in Maryland after an analysis predicted the state would see a $2.8 billion reduction in tax revenue during the next three months.
“In the absence of this federal support, states will have to confront the prospect of significant reductions to critically important services,” Hogan wrote in the letter, sent on behalf of other governors. This “hamper[s] public health, the economic recovery, and — in turn — our collective effort to get people back to work.”
The District, Maryland and Virginia reported a total of 53 new covid-19 fatalities Saturday, bringing the regional death toll to 384.
In a joint statement on behalf of the National Governors Association, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) and Hogan said the most recent federal rescue package contained no money to help states balance their books.
The Cares Act gives $150 billion to states, although there are restrictions on how the money can be used — it’s meant to assist in areas including housing, education and access to healthy food — and governors say it’s not nearly enough. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called the $150 billion “a down payment.”
Some states, such as Pennsylvania, have started laying off workers. New York predicted a $10 billion deficit. Unlike the federal government, cash-strapped states cannot run deficits and must slash budgets when revenue falls short.
Cuomo and Hogan said the half-trillion dollars that states need is in addition to a rescue package for local governments. The letter follows a Thursday call between governors and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said.
The District, Maryland and Virginia disclosed 1,415 new known coronavirus cases as of Saturday morning, bringing the regional total to 14,572.
Still, experts say official tallies do not reflect an accurate snapshot of the virus’s toll on communities. People infected today may not show symptoms for days and may take weeks to receive positive test results. Many will not be tested at all, as health authorities and doctors prioritize tests for high-risk groups and emergency workers.
The region has had 384 covid-19-related deaths so far: 48 in the District, 206 in Maryland and 130 in Virginia.
The District and Virginia each reported nine deaths Saturday, while Maryland reported 35.
Prince George’s County added eight deaths Saturday, bringing its total death toll to 50, the most of any Maryland jurisdiction.
All of the District’s new victims were black, further exacerbating racial disparities in the death toll. In a city in which 46 percent of residents are African American, covid-19 victims have been more than 70 percent black.