Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic's economic collapse is making it harder for local leaders to address the inequalities in their cities — even as the unrest over police violence has magnified the need for change even further.

The big picture: Evening out some of these disparities requires money — and city budgets are shot.

What's happening: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, the city's former police chief, said this week has been a "turning point in awareness" in her city.

  • "Some individuals in some neighborhoods have never been in the low-income areas, and are unaware of the problems and issues," she said. "This has broadened awareness of systemic issues and will foster community engagement."
  • Tampa will still be able to fund existing plans for affordable housing, public transportation and a new effort on workforce development. But an anticipated $20 million budget shortfall will hamper new investments.

Cincinnati is dipping into reserves, furloughing employees and facing cuts to city services to deal with an $80 million budget deficit, said Mayor John Cranley.

  • "We have the resources we need to to get through it," he said. "But we need to be investing in public health, police and fire, economic empowerment and small business loans to help people get back on their feet. We're not going to be able to do that."

The bottom line: Many cities are struggling to marshal the resources to help residents recover from recent health and economic blows, let alone support new levels of community reinvestment.

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New York Council agrees to cut $1B from NYPD budget

Protesters march in Manhattan in support of NYPD budget cuts and defunding the police, on June 29. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

The New York City Council agreed late Tuesday to reallocate $1 billion from the NYPD operating budget as part of the city's police reform efforts driven by nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

The big picture: For the 2020 fiscal year, the city spent $10.9 billion on its police department — the largest and most expensive police force in the country, per the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission.

Top business leaders urge White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines

A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings would "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.

5 mins ago - Podcasts

Lots of jobs, lots of questions

America added 4.8 million jobs in June, easily exceeding economist expectations, while the unemployment rate fell from 13.3% to 11.1%. But the jobs picture remains very murky, particularly as some states pause or roll back economy reopenings.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the jobs picture right now and where it's headed, with The Washington Post's Catherine Rampell.