May 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Newsom says first responders will be first victims of state budget deficits

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that the federal government has a "moral obligation" to provide funding for states in its next coronavirus relief bill, noting that police officers, health care workers and firefighters will be the first ones laid off as a result of massive budget deficits.

Why it matters: The House last week passed a bill that includes $500 billion for state governments and $375 billion for local governments. But the Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have deemed it dead on arrival, signaling that they want to wait a few weeks until deciding on whether to pass another relief package.

  • McConnell and other Republicans have suggested that the federal government should not bail out Democratic states that had budgetary problems prior to the pandemic.
  • Newsom dismissed this criticism on CNN, noting that California was running a $21.5 billion surplus a year ago. Now, as a result of lost revenue, the state has a $54.3 billion budget deficit that is "directly COVID-induced," Newsom said.

What he's saying:

"The next time they want to salute and celebrate our heroes, our first responders, our police officers and firefighters, consider the fact that they are the first ones that will be laid off by cities and counties. Folks that are out there, the true heroes of this pandemic, our health care workers and nurses. Those county health systems have been ravaged, their budgets have been devastated and depleted, the budget counts depleted since this pandemic. They're the first ones to be laid off. So we've got to square our rhetoric with the reality."
— Gavin Newsom

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