In an April 23 Colorado Politics story, reporter Marianne Goodland describes in detail the bleak fiscal outlook faced by local governments across Colorado due to massive reductions in revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Colorado Municipal League, revenue for Colorado municipalities this year is expected to plunge by over 21 percent. Losses from declining sales tax receipts, fees, and permitting have created a fiscal shortfall unlike anything the current generation of Coloradans has ever experienced. Essential services that Coloradoans take for granted every day, from public safety to street maintenance to libraries, are in danger.
In response to this unprecedented state of crisis, we’ve seen a disappointing lack of timely assistance from lawmakers in Washington, despite the passage of four major pieces of coronavirus economic stimulus legislation in recent weeks. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell actually suggested on April 22 that state and local governments should consider bankruptcy rather than counting on aid from the federal government, which would wreak untold damage on communities across the nation who are suffering through no fault of their own.
Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado has, contrary to his conservative political leanings, supported and even taken credit for the massive aid bills passed so far to keep the economy intact through the necessary measures being taken to combat the pandemic. Gardner has attempted with varying degrees of success to mitigate the failures of the federal government to provide testing and personal protective equipment needed by Colorado to fight the pandemic. But the looming conflict over desperately needed funds to support state and local governments along with working families and job creators will force Gardner to choose a side: with Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Republicans in Washington who are backing away from responsibility when we need them most, or with the Colorado communities Gardner has always said come first.
We call on Gardner to insist that the U.S. Senate follow through with the assistance Americans need for as long as it takes to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. Anything less will result in the worst possible outcome in public policy: harm we can easily avoid.
Lynne is a retired Special Education Teacher/District Coordinator for the Littleton, Denver and Douglas County School Districts. Since retiring, she has supervised special education student teachers and been an active volunteer for various local arts/civic groups and political campaigns. She currently resides in Littleton, Colorado.