03.05.21

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Local Wisconsin Leaders to Call for Senate Passage of American Rescue Plan and Provide Emergency Funding for State and Local Governments to Provide Essential Services

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is supporting calls from state and local officials across Wisconsin to pass the American Rescue Plan in the Senate and provide federal funding for states, localities, and Tribal governments to continue providing essential services to people during the public health and economic crisis.

State and local governments are facing unprecedented costs to address this immediate crisis, limit long-term harm caused by the pandemic, and address longstanding inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. The U.S. Senate is currently taking up a comprehensive package of legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that will provide emergency funding to ensure that communities have access to critical services.

“The American Rescue Plan provides emergency federal funding to our state so local communities will have the support they need to continue providing essential services to people. Wisconsin towns, cities and counties have been on the frontlines of our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and their local budgets can use some help to provide critical community services,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin needs more support from Washington to beat the COVID-19 pandemic and move our local economies forward. The House has done its job, and now we need to pass the American Rescue Plan in the Senate so we can continue to provide essential services that people need.”

There is broad, bipartisan support for the American Rescue Plan. New polling from Morning Consult shows that 77 percent of voters support the measures in the stimulus package, including 59 percent of Republican voters. Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway, Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, and Racine Mayor Cory Mason have called on Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan, as have local officials from across Wisconsin.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Wausau residents hard. While we’re bouncing back from the nearly 12 percent unemployment rate in the city, families are still trying to make themselves whole after a year of economic uncertainty. Direct relief to people, small businesses, and ensuring city government has the resources to continue serving residents are essential parts of the American Rescue Plan. We know that once this pandemic is under control, our economy can rebound if we all have the resources to reinvest in ourselves, our businesses, and our communities,” said Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg.

“Cities like La Crosse continue to experience the economic downturn of this pandemic and our recovery will take months, even years.  Our residents and small businesses are struggling. That is why it is absolutely critical that the Senate approves the American Rescue Plan, providing La Crosse direct relief from the federal government. Last year the economic devastation resulted in a loss of more than $4.5 million in city revenues, causing layoffs, furloughs and positions to go unfilled – including staffing in public safety. I urge our Senators to support emergency fiscal assistance to local governments now,” said La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat.

“As a City Councilmember in Wisconsin, the residents and the businesses I represent are in need of support from the American Rescue Plan. If we don't see support and assistance from the federal government it will hurt our ability to get our local economy back on track in the coming months and years. We need resources for our Health Department to get the vaccine out faster, we need support opening the schools safely, small businesses need funding to be innovative and continue to stay open, and families are going to need help paying for basic things like rent, groceries, and gas. This is the right plan for right now and people's lives will be better if it is signed into law,” said Eau Claire City Councilmember Andrew Werthmann.

“It can’t be overstated how great the need is for resources to support our pandemic response efforts and critical county services residents rely on like housing assistance, grants for small businesses, and addressing the outsized impacts of historically underserved populations. This isn’t about politics, this is about keeping people safe, getting people critical assistance, ending the COVID-19 pandemic, and enabling recovery efforts. Congress must act swiftly to pass this plan,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

"The American Rescue Plan is critical for Racine and other communities like ours across the country. The dual impact of a health care crisis killing thousands and making many more ill, coupled with the devastation to the local economy cannot be overstated. Direct aid to local communities is essential to fund the public health staff, first responders, and other personnel needed to respond to the needs of our community. The economic rescue is needed to help with those who have lost their jobs or are on the verge of losing their business is critical. This is a once in a generation vote; a moment that requires the full force of the federal government to get us through the pandemic. There are few people who have not experienced someone they know who has lost their lives, their livelihoods, or both. Please pass this bill," said Racine Mayor Cory Mason.

“Every community has been hit hard by the pandemic. As the Mayor of Waukesha, I am hopeful that municipalities receive the needed direct relief under the American Rescue Plan,” said Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly.

“The passage of this bill would help many of the people in Kenosha County who have been hit hardest by this pandemic. As a County Treasurer, one of the top reasons people fall behind on property taxes and face foreclosure is because they have a medical issues that cause increased costs and loss of wages so getting the assistance in this bill could very likely save both their lives and their family’s home,” said Kenosha County Treasurer Teri Jacobson.

“Funding for county governments is critical so we can provide more support for small businesses in our area, families in need, and provide testing and vaccine distribution through this unprecedented time. We have the structure in place and can get this funding into our community quickly to ensure people are safe and our economy can come back strong,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

“The City of Janesville has been most appreciative of 2020 federal funding provided to assist local governments cover unexpected and unbudgeted costs associated with our COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. Of particular note, additional FTA funding has ensured that our transit system could maintain service levels (routes and timing) for those most in need in our community. Likewise, additional CDBG funding has provided assistance for medical treatment for the uninsured and under-insured in our community and emergency housing assistance for those experiencing homelessness during this economically difficult year (to name a few). I am hopeful that federal funding continues in 2021 to assist local governments cover unexpected and unbudgeted costs associated with our COVID-19 pandemic response efforts and helps to maintain community service level expectations. I am a strong advocate for federal funding going directly to local governments as FTA and CDBG funding did in 2020 instead of being routed through states,” said City of Janesville Administrator Mark Freitag.

“The pandemic has not hit everyone equally. Those living near or below the poverty line have disproportionately suffered job losses and are at the highest risk for eviction, utility disconnection, and homelessness. Children living in poverty lack the resources to keep up with their peers in virtual education environments. Small businesses operating on razor thin margins face closure when caution keeps customers at home. Communities like Superior have an obligation to help those in need but we can’t do it alone. We applaud and support Senator Baldwin’s efforts to bring vital relief to vulnerable communities and help us emerge strong from this crisis,” said Superior Mayor Jim Paine.

“Small business revenues in Bayfield County dropped 67.2 percent from January 2020 to January 2021. The number of small businesses opened decreased by 55.7 percent from January 2020 to Jan 27, 2021. Residents and businesses in northern Wisconsin are resilient, but the prolonged nature of COVID-19 has hurt the tourism, entertainment and lodging industries, critical drivers in our region. COVID’s impact on schooling and impacts on seniors and other vulnerable residents has limited residents’ ability to work, creating high unemployment. Federal funding is urgently needed to help businesses, individuals, and local governments recover from the pandemic and plan for the future,” said Bayfield County Administrator Mark Abeles-Allison.

“As a small (8,000 pop.) inter-dependent county seat community, the City of Ashland lacks the economic resources of larger cities and will greatly benefit from additional funding to help unaddressed COVID impacts in the community; in particular, help for our small Mom and Pop businesses in the food industry who have been devastated by forced closures, help for safe re-opening for our schools and paid family leave for vulnerable teaching staff forced to quarantine, help for our local Community Health Center facing increased demand for services, help for renters and landlords to prevent eviction or foreclosure, and critical energy and water assistance for hard-hit individuals and families. This is a time in our country for compassion to those who have been hardest hit and are least able to weather the COVID storm,” said Ashland Mayor Debra Lewis.

“These federal COVID relief funds would be used to replace lost revenue in Ashland County, funding that would be utilized to pay for overtime for our public health staff and for our vaccination clinics. They could be utilized to make sub-grants to local non-profits, which have struggled with increased demand and, at the same time, decreased donations. We currently have three towns without EMS services due to a lack of funding, and federal relief dollars would be a godsend to help set up a regional EMS service for these small rural towns that don’t otherwise have the population or property value to support such an effortA COVID relief bill should not exclude financial support for local governments that rural Americans rely on,” said Ashland County Administrator Clark Schroeder.

“Tribal communities have historically suffered significantly as a minority group with high health risks and less resources. The Covid-19 pandemic has substantially increased this suffering from loss of jobs and income, children being out of school, mental health challenges, increases in drug and alcohol use, violence, crime, and even worse—the loss of their loved ones. While the Red Cliff community is doing our best to alleviate this suffering and protect our citizens with all measures available, we are still in dire need of federal assistance to continue these much needed services. We are asking all federal legislators to support Senator Baldwin’s efforts to include direct tribal relief funding in the next Covid-19 stimulus package. We know our community best—their needs, when and how to respond, and culturally appropriate approaches. Without relief funding, it is unlikely we will be able sustain our efforts and it will take much longer to help our community recover. We faced heavy challenges before the pandemic, which have now been exacerbated because of it.  Increased federal assistance is critically needed for us to be able to continue to respond timely, and in a quality way that can help our people endure and move beyond,” said Chairman Rick Peterson, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“Smaller cities continue to struggle to provide even basic services between levy limits and expenditure restraints, let alone a pandemic to respond to. Any assistance that can be provided by the American Rescue Plan would be very much appreciated and will be put to good use,” said Washburn Mayor Mary Motiff.