2003 Adopted Resolutions
71st Annual Meeting
Denver

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URGING SUPPORT FOR LOCAL FISCAL RELIEF AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

WHEREAS, local governments across the nation are facing the worst fiscal crisis they have experienced in decades, brought on mostly by the 2001 recession; the 9/11/01 terrorists attacks which caused a huge reduction in local revenues particularly from taxes related to the travel and tourism industry; and drastic cuts in state aid to local governments; and

WHEREAS, local governments are suffering from significant budget shortfalls and are taking drastic actions to close their budget gaps, including laying off police officers, firefighters, teachers and other critical workers; cutting back on services and in some cases closing down libraries and other public facilities; and delaying capital improvement projects; and

WHEREAS, a recent report released by the United States Conference of Mayors provides that overall, job growth in the nation's metro areas will average a mere 0.7 percent annually between 2001 and 2004, down from a robust 1.7 percent growth rate between 1998 and 2001; and

WHEREAS, states are facing the worst fiscal crisis since World War II with budget deficits estimated at almost $100 billion, nearly 10 percent of total state spending, and many are significantly reducing aid to local governments; and

WHEREAS, in January 2003 Conference President and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino led Conference efforts in developing policy on economic security, which called for general fiscal assistance for local governments as well as urged support for the following:

  • Tax Code Amendments
  • The President's home ownership tax credit proposal;
  • Raising the state volume cap for municipal bonds to spur more economic development and jobs;
  • Exempting water and waste water projects from the state volume caps;
  • School construction tax credits bonds to meet the need for new and renovated facilities;
  • High speed rail tax credit bonds to improve transportation between regions;
  • Brownfield redevelopment tax credits to turn blighted properties into tax producing and job producing sites; and
  • Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit to more working families.
  • Job Creation Investments
  • Acceleration of transportation funding to put more Americans to work as soon as possible;
  • Increase federal investments in housing, again to create jobs and put a roof over the head of more American families;
  • Job training initiatives to help prepare unemployed Americans for new jobs of the 21st century;
  • General Fiscal Assistance for local governments.
  • Fiscal Relief
  • Medicaid relief for states;
  • Full funding of the "No Child Left Behind" Act; and

WHEREAS, Senator Olympia J. Snowe worked timelessly in the Senate on behalf of state and local governments, and as a result, the Senate voted 95 to 3 to approve $20 billion in temporary assistance for state and local governments, with $10 billion earmarked for Medicaid and the remaining $10 billion for general fiscal relief split $6 billion for states and $4 billion for local governments; and

WHEREAS, a House and Senate conference panel decided to eliminate the $4 billion earmarked for local governments during negotiations on the final compromise, and instead the total $20 billion was provided to states with no requirement to share these funds with local governments; and

WHEREAS, instead of spending funds immediately to avoid layoffs and service cuts, some governors are reluctant to spend these funds on ongoing programs and are planning to place some of their funds in reserve for certain programs later on,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors does hereby commend Senator Olympia J. Snowe and the other 94 Senators for voting to earmark a portion of the fiscal relief funds for local governments and urges Congress to enact legislation that provides at least $4 billion in general fiscal relief to local governments; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urges states to use some of their fiscal relief money to fund local government programs and services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to enact legislation to amend the tax code, and increase investments in programs as mentioned earlier in this resolution to spur economic growth by creating jobs and helping to improve the local infrastructure.