Construction workers wearing masks work on a road in New York City in May. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Major infrastructure projects have been put on ice, economic development programs are getting the ax, and workers are losing their jobs.

Why it matters: These are the realities for localities dealing with multimillion-dollar budget holes while also continuing to pour money into COVID-19 response as cases spike.

By the numbers, per a survey of 1,100 municipalities by the National League of Cities:

  • 65% of cities are delaying or canceling capital expenditures and infrastructure projects, with 61% of cities delaying or canceling equipment purchases.
  • 24% of cities are slashing community and economic development programs.
  • 33% of cities say they will have to furlough or lay off employees.
  • 20% said cuts are happening across the board, 54% said they are more targeted.

Job losses are mounting at the local level, with more than 1.3 million jobs lost since March, according to numbers from the National Association of Counties.

  • Most job losses were related to education, but more than 523,000 job losses included social workers, law enforcement, maintenance crews and construction workers.

"There will be a lot of cuts to parks and recreation and economic development programs — things that are important but maybe not essential," said Michael Belsky, executive director of the Center for Municipal Finance at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.

  • A number of local officials have said they don't plan to raise taxes to fill funding gaps, but the option may soon be on the table as the pandemic drags on and rainy day funds and borrowing capacities are exhausted.
"The worst time you can tax people is when their incomes are down. Many places are furloughing people, property values will be depressed. You don't have enough income and demand for housing so prices will go down, and property taxes will go down. All these things point to very difficult decisions."
— Michael Belsky

Go deeper

Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as COVID-19 cases increase in U.S.

Commuters line up to cross to the United States at the San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Mexican leaders are calling for stronger enforcement on its northern border as the number of coronavirus cases in the southwestern U.S. continues to rise, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Mexico worries the growing number of COIVD-19 cases in the U.S. could threaten their communities' own safety and ability to combat the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people living in the U.S. have continued to cross into Mexico during the pandemic, the Post notes.

16 hours ago - Health

Fauci and other experts give advice on day-to-day life in a pandemic

Anthony Fauci testifies on Capitol Hill on June 30. Photo: Al Drago via Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci and five other public health experts explained their daily coronavirus rituals and precautions to the Washington Post in a Q&A published Friday.

The big picture: The experts gave unanimous answers to some questions — on when they wear a mask and how they avoid eating inside restaurants — but differed on sending kids back to school in the fall.

16 hours ago - Health

15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.