I hear from local leaders all over our state that they need more resources from the federal government to get through this pandemic. Their costs are up, while revenue is down. That’s why this week, I introduced the Direct Support for Communities Act, which would provide federal dollars directly to Ohio cities, towns, villages, and counties.
Over the last year, community leaders have told me about the extra expenses cities and counties have had, all while dealing with a drop in tax revenue. From needing to purchase PPE and cleaning supplies, to increased demand for health services, to more families needing help at sites like food banks, communities are struggling to keep up.
I’ve been fighting for months to get more help to our state, and I’m hopeful that with a new administration and Congress, we’re finally going to be able to provide all Ohio communities with the support they need to prevent service cuts and layoffs of teachers and cops and firefighters.
Our bill is the kind of guaranteed, simple, direct help Ohio communities need to support residents, to plan their budgets, and to have peace of mind that they won’t have to lay people off in the middle of an economic crisis. The most important feature of this bill is that all local governments would get the funding directly, without having to wait and hope that they’d get funding passed down to them by the state government.
Last year, former Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan for struggling cities and counties was: “let them go bankrupt.” We won’t let that happen. President Biden promised he would pass more help for states and local governments, and in the rescue plan he rolled out earlier this month, he included $350 billion in state and local funding.
Our bill would make sure that the local portion of that funding goes directly to the Ohio communities that need it. I want to get to work with the president right away to pass a real rescue plan that includes our bill, and that gives our localities flexibility. Ohio communities know what will make the biggest impact in people’s lives during these challenging times.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.