The governors of Maryland and New York on Saturday made a bipartisan request for $500 billion from the federal government to meet budgetary shortfalls resulting from the pandemic and financial crisis. Some of those shortfalls are certain to be passed on to public colleges and universities in most states, under current financial projections.

Stay-at-home orders and other aggressive measures are helping to slow the spread of the virus, but those preventative moves are resulting in catastrophic damage to state revenue, wrote Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, and Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York. Hogan chairs the National Governors Association and Cuomo is the group’s vice chair.

“Despite this grave challenge, the recently passed federal CARES Act contained zero funding to offset these drastic state revenue shortfalls. To stabilize state budgets and to make sure states have the resources to battle the virus and provide the services the American people rely on, Congress must provide immediate fiscal assistance directly to all states,” they wrote. “We must be allowed to use any state stabilization funds for replacement of lost revenue, and these funds should not be tied to only COVID-19 related expenses. Congress must amend the CARES Act to allow this flexibility for existing federal funding.”

The U.S. Congress must appropriate $500 billion for all U.S. states and territories to help cover budget holes, the two governors said. And those funds should be separate from much-needed federal money for local governments.

“In the absence of unrestricted fiscal support of at least $500 billion from the federal government, states will have to confront the prospect of significant reductions to critically important services all across this country, hampering public health, the economic recovery and — in turn — our collective effort to get people back to work,” wrote Hogan and Cuomo.
 

Inside Higher Ed