May 1, 2020/Press

NC Projects $4 Billion Shortfall As Tillis Triples Down Against Aid for States and Local Governments

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore just reported that North Carolina is likely facing a $4 billion budget shortfall because of the coronavirus, yet Senator Thom Tillis continues to double and triple down on his position that state and local governments should not get additional federal aid and instead should declare bankruptcy, a route that jeopardizes funding for law enforcement, firefighters, teachers, sanitation, and public services.
In a tele-town hall a week ago, Senator Tillis said, “I don’t believe that I could support any measure that’s effectively a bailout for poorly run state and local governments,” adding that he’s “aligned” with McConnell on the issue. Earlier this week, as McConnell continued to face bipartisan blowback, Tillis again twice reiterated that the federal government shouldn’t offer more aid to state and local governments.
The projected North Carolina state budget shortfall is a “big hole” and “more than the state has on hand in reserves.” Local leaders across the state are also raising warning signs. Winston Salem Mayor Allen Joines told Spectrum that without federal aid, “We’d be looking at probably eliminating positions, cutting back on service levels.”
Meanwhile, other Republican Senators have made clear that this issue is “not about a state which has been mismanaged” but instead is “about helping to keep police, fire and sanitation in place.” As Tillis continues to try to ride Governor Cooper’s coattails, his position that state and local governments are on their own is out-of-step with North Carolina’s state leaders and the public.
“As the full financial impact of the coronavirus comes into focus, Senator Tillis and Mitch McConnell’s insistence against additional relief for state and local governments looks crueler by the day,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Senator Tillis’ stance will hurt firefighters, first responders, law enforcement, teachers, and public services across the state, but he’d rather stick by Mitch McConnell and President Trump than do what’s best for North Carolina.”