Kaptur Sends Letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Urging the State of Ohio to Allocate Coronavirus Relief Funding to Communities Based on Population and Municipal Budget Impacts of COVID-19

April 24, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) sent a letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine urging his Administration to carry out the fair and equitable distribution of CARES Act funding to communities across the state based on population density as well as the local, county, and municipal budget impacts of COVID-19. Such action will ensure communities with fewer than 500,000 people, including the Cities of Toledo, Sandusky, Lorain, Cleveland, and so many others which alone do not meet the narrow population threshold enforced by the U.S. Department of Treasury to qualify for direct federal funding and will instead receive federal funding administered by the state, receive their fair share of coronavirus response funding. Communities across the state are facing massive budget shortfalls at the same time local governments are leading the response to the crisis. Rep. Kaptur has joined Democrats in Congress in pushing for more resources in additional relief packages for these cash strapped state and local governments. 

 

Earlier this week, Rep. Kaptur led two congressional letters to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging the certification of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency’s (NOACA) and Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments’ (TMACOG) requests for direct federal funding from the Department of the Treasury through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. With the exception Cuyahoga County, communities across Northern Ohio will not receive direct assistance through the Coronavirus Relief Fund enacted by the CARES Act, and thus are faced with the decision to cut life-saving services while they wait for assistance.

 

“It is absolutely essential that communities across the state receive the coronavirus relief funding they need to safely navigate the difficult and unprecedented circumstances within which we find ourselves,” said Rep. Kaptur. “Today, I am asking for Governor DeWine’s partnership in ensuring communities across our state, including those in Northern Ohio which I am honored to represent, are not left behind at this critical moment. Communities should not have to face the decision of cutting life-saving services while they wait for assistance. While Senator McConnel would see these localities declare bankruptcy leading to lay-offs of policemen, first-responders, and health workers when they are needed most, I am committed to securing additional funding for our communities in future stimulus bills.”

 

“I applaud Governor DeWine for his leadership during the coronavirus crisis and look forward to partnering with him to ensure families, workers, small businesses, and local governments receive the support they deserve.”

 

The text of the letter is available below and online here.

 

Governor Mike DeWine

Riffe Center, 30th Floor

77 South High Street

Columbus, OH 43215

 

Dear Governor DeWine,

 

Thank you for your critical leadership to keep Ohioans safe during this challenging time for our nation. Your administration has taken an aggressive and evidence-based approach to this crisis. Our state owes you a debt of gratitude in this difficult time. Your action to date leaves me hopeful all Ohioans can expect a fair and equitable disbursement of CARES Act funding provided to the state for localities with fewer than 500,000 people. I encourage one based on population density and the local, county and municipal budget impacts of COVID-19.

 

As you know, with Ohioans sheltered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment rates in the Buckeye State have soared quickly to over 850,000. Additionally, mayors and municipal executives from across my district and the state, face dire budget shortfalls from the sudden drop in economic activity and increased expenditures to contain the pandemic. In response, Congress passed the CARES Act (H.R. 748), a historic piece of legislation to rescue our families, stabilize our economy, and infuse states and localities with financial support.

 

The Act provides for the Coronavirus Relief Fund under Section 5001, which will provide $4.53 billion dollars for the State of Ohio. Localities with more than 500,000 people will receive direct payments if they certify, and those with fewer people will rely on equitable disbursement from the State of Ohio. In my district, Cuyahoga County is eligible for direct funding. But my other communities deserve equal attention in dollars disbursed to the State. Larger cities in Northern Ohio and in other regions of the state face increased threats of virus spread due to population densities. Many of these urban areas and city tax bases have not fully recovered from the 2008 Great Recession. These communities will count on the federal assistance to not only ensure robust public health responses, but to also ensure a speedy economic recovery.

 

In the past, the State of Ohio has not always equally advantaged Northern Ohio in funding decisions. At times funds are disbursed without regard to the region’s relative population. For example, urban areas in the north will not see returned a fair share of the new 10.5 cent state gas tax earnings for transportation projects in Ohio. The state gas tax receipts are not equitably distributed, rather they are equally divided amongst the 88 Ohio counties. In this instance, communities with larger populations or higher percentages of vehicle miles traveled on roads in those communities are disadvantaged. As a whole, the State suffers.

 

For these reasons, I respectfully urge you to follow the intent of the law and allocate these funds to localities based on population. Congress has a direct stake to ensure funds appropriated by the federal treasury are distributed equitability.

 

This crisis is unfortunately in its early days and action now holds great impact on scope and intensity of future waves. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with you and your office in the months ahead. We can overcome these challenges by working collaboratively. Thank you for your attention to these matters, and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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kaptur.house.gov