Washington, D.C. – Across the country, mayors – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – are renewing their call for Congress to provide direct fiscal assistance to all cities and towns of all sizes. Following a letter signed by more than 420 mayors last month, a growing number of cities, including those in Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, Ohio, and Washington, are all sending messages directly to lawmakers, urging them to take action in the face of unprecedented budget shortfalls.

The messages come ahead of a meeting of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Friday, where lawmakers will consider a package of funding for state, local, and tribal governments as outlined in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

To date, Congress has provided no direct emergency assistance to most cities across the country, and those few that previously received aid continue to be in dire fiscal situations, with looming budget cuts, essential public services threatened, and hiring freezes. The following is a sample of the letters that members of Congress are receiving from local leaders.

Louisville (KY) Mayor Greg Fischer, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, sent a letter to the House Oversight and Reform Committee:

“It is clear that localities need more direct funding to maintain our staff, essential services, and ongoing emergency operations through the duration of the pandemic. The nation cannot afford more job losses, especially in the public sector when our constituents are depending on municipal services during this crisis more than ever.”

In California, mayors from Orange County and the Board of Supervisors wrote:

“As Congress prepares its priorities for the early months of 2021, leaders in Congress and the Executive Branch have made it clear COVID-19 recovery is the foremost priority. The most impactful measure Congress can take to stabilize our COVID-19 situation and encourage economic revival is to provide aid to local governments.”

In his letter, San Diego (CA) Mayor Todd Gloria stressed the dire state of his city’s finances:

Currently, the City of San Diego, due to pandemic related economic impacts, is projecting to lose over $280 million in City general fund revenue, due to lost sales and hotel taxes, through the end of the fiscal year 2021. This represents over 15 percent of the City’s annual general fund budget and is roughly the size of the City’s Fire Department’s budget.”

Oakland (CA) Mayor Libby Schaaf also sent a letter to Congressional leadership, stating:

“We urge Congress to address the needs of local governments by providing direct aid to local governments, without placing states in an intermediary position. The formula should provide maximum flexibility, and should cover the widest set of eligible activities, which must include forgone revenue.”

The Texas Mayors Alliance – representing mayors from all over the state – wrote to their Congressional delegation:

“Texas metropolitan areas account for 93.1% of the Texas economy. Vibrant metropolitan areas with strong, fiscally stable local governments will be key to defeating the pandemic and managing the reopening of the Texas economy. Simply put, it will be impossible to have fiscally stable local governments without flexible fiscal assistance directly allocated from the federal government.”

The Ohio Mayors Alliance too sent a letter to their Congressional delegation, urging:

“Many of our cities have furloughed workers, shrunk their workforce through attrition, cancelled police and fire recruitment efforts, and frozen capital budgets that build community infrastructure—all while absorbing additional expenses to respond to COVID, delivering essential services, and reaching out to our communities that have been disproportionately affected.”

Massillon (OH) Mayor Kathy Catazaro Perry also expressed her support for direct aid to cities:

“These funds are vital for cities like Massillon to preserve critical public sector jobs and help drive our economic recovery…Providing direct, flexible aid is the most efficient and immediate way to help our families and our city.”

In Arizona, Mesa Mayor John Giles wrote to the city’s representatives in Congress:

“Cities like ours bear much of the responsibility for the continued response to COVID-19 in our communities. To properly address the public health, economic, education, housing, and nutrition crises our citizens are enduring, it is essential that resources get to them as quickly as possible.”

Tampa (FL) Mayor Jane Castor too sent a letter that read:

“Tampa and its frontline workers have played a critical role in stabilizing and moving our community forward through the pandemic. Direct funding to Tampa will cover costs related to COVID-19 including homelessness mitigation, rental assistance, workforce retraining, fire and police call responses, and security and maintenance of traffic at testing and vaccination sites.”

Framingham (MA) Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer wrote:

“Even as our COVID-19 case statistics have been improving slightly, the financial need of our City and its residents continues. For example, we have stood up an emergency food and toiletry delivery service for those who are homebound or quarantining because they have been exposed to COVID-19 and have no other way of getting food and other necessities.”

In her letter, Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth Kautz shared her support for direct aid to cities:

Direct funding to Burnsville will cover costs related to COVID-19 including fire and police call responses, extended mental health services, and increased sanitation and public health measures.”

And Tacoma (WA) Mayor Victoria Woodards discussed her city’s ever-growing budget deficit:

“The City is contending with a $20 million budget shortfall for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and projecting revenue shortfalls in our General Fund exceeding $32 million in FY 2021 and $35 million in FY 2022…. Because of the shortfall, we implemented a two-percent reduction to our police department and recently took one fire engine out of commission.”