(Washington, DC) — Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after sending a letter recommending California Governor Newsom create a streamlined process for small counties and towns to request funding from California’s estimated $15.3 billion allotment of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Currently, local governments above a 500,000 population threshold can receive 45% of their funding from the Department of the Treasury. Counties and towns below 500,000 in population must receive their funding directly from the state. Rather than acting as an arbiter of where that money goes, Congressman LaMalfa is requesting the state act as more of a pass-through, creating a process for the funding to be distributed to smaller, rural jurisdictions with ease
LaMalfa said: “The State of California needs to be fair and even handed while every county, city, town, and village is struggling to cope with this pandemic. Small and rural jurisdictions — which already operate on narrow budgets in normal years — need the capital that the CARES Act provides to address the virus at a local government level. Due to small staffing levels that local, rural governments often have, they face the highest barrier to being eligible or simply even processed. I urge Governor Newsom to keep these smaller jurisdictions in mind and make the process simple to request their share of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.”
The full letter to Governor Newsom can be found here or below.
April 9, 2020
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of California
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
On March 27, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law. As you may know, Section 5001 of this legislation established a Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide $150 billion in funding to States, U.S. Territories, and Tribes to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19.
While Congress did allow for large cities and counties to directly receive assistance from the U.S. Treasury, there were logistical concerns about allowing every jurisdiction in the nation to separately request direct funding from the Treasury. I am writing you today to request that your office develop a process for smaller towns and counties to request their portion of California’s State allocation from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which the Congressional Research Services estimates to be $15.3 billion. Given the reality that small or rural areas of our State often have fewer staff, I am asking that you make every attempt to make this process as simple as possible, and disburse funds as rapidly as possible.
Small and rural jurisdictions, which make up the vast majority of my Congressional District, were already struggling financially. In a normal year, they operate on shoestring budgets without much flexibility. As this virus spreads, that meager flexibility evaporated. Now, public officials are left without resources just as this microscopic threat has come to dominate every social and familial interaction.
The Coronavirus Relief Fund was designed to reinforce every county, city, town and village that is struggling to cope with this pandemic. Your attention and action on this matter is paramount.
Member of Congress
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.
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