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Washington April 1, 2021 – Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) today encouraged California Governor Gavin Newsom, Speaker Anthony Rendon and President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins to use funds from the recently passed COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan (ARP), to support special districts and other units of state and local government. It is projected that California’s special districts will have a budget shortfall of at least $2.4 billion by the end of 2021.

            “In the ARP, Congress has given States considerable flexibility to use the money to address the diverse needs of their communities, and specifically authorizes funding to special districts. We, therefore, request that you use the authority within the ARP to help special districts and other units of State or local government that are in dire need of relief,” the senators wrote.

            The full text of the letter is available here and below:

April 1, 2021

The Honorable Gavin Newsom

Governor, State of California

State Capitol, First Floor

Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Anthony Rendon

Speaker, State Assembly

State Capitol, Room 219

Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Toni G. Atkins

President pro Tempore, State Senate

State Capitol, Room 205

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom, Speaker Rendon and President pro Tempore Atkins:

We write in support of using the authority within Section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which provides funds to help States, territories, Tribal governments, and localities manage the public health and economic consequences of COVID-19. In the ARP, Congress has given States considerable flexibility to use the money to address the diverse needs of their communities, and specifically authorizes funding to special districts. We, therefore, request that you use the authority within the ARP to help special districts and other units of State or local government that are in dire need of relief. 

As you know, many of California’s special districts are experiencing severe fiscal hardship, mostly due to the revenue losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The projected shortfall for California’s special districts will exceed $2.4 billion by the end of 2021. For example, ports were uniquely affected, especially those in travel and tourism. The Port of San Diego saw a revenue decline of $98 million in Fiscal Year 2020 with a pre-pandemic budget of $200 million, while the Port of San Francisco projected an $80 million loss over the next two years with a pre-pandemic budget of $110 million; for these reasons, California ports have requested $250 million.

Under your leadership, California is beginning the long road to recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19. We hope that the funds Congress has provided through the ARP are used to help the State recover from the devastating health and economic consequences of the pandemic. We appreciate your consideration of our request, and please let us know if we can be of any assistance.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

Alex Padilla

United States Senator