Washington, DC—Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) President Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, USCM Vice President Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Chair of USCM’s Metro Economies Policy Committee Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams on the importance of American Rescue Plan funds for cities:

“Since early 2020, city governments have led our nation’s response to the pandemic, while facing immense fiscal pressure as increased needs collided with declining tax revenue. The nation’s mayors are grateful for the vital federal relief included in the American Rescue Plan, which will enable us to reverse some of the damage and ensure a durable, equitable recovery.

“Right now, mayors across the country are engaging constituents and working with their city councils, businesses, and nonprofit partners to develop responsible plans to prioritize needs and allocate these critical funds to help those adversely impacted. For some local governments, the federal dollars will not fully cover public health costs or address the budget shortfalls and resulting personnel and service reductions that are a direct result of the pandemic. In other cities, these funds will enable them to provide direct assistance to help people – particularly those with children – to re-enter the workforce, fight homelessness and evictions, address growing mental health and substance abuse challenges, keep utilities on for the vulnerable, support small businesses, and promote public safety.

“Any calls to take away or repurpose these funds will harm the people and communities who have suffered the most from this pandemic. The worst may be behind us, but it will take years to rebuild a solid footing, and we simply cannot take steps backwards now.”