The Senate will formally return to Washington this week after the Memorial Day break, joining their House of Representatives counterparts. The House returned last week under rules that allow members to vote under a new proxy voting process.

The House passed their HEROES ACT (HR 6800) before the Memorial Day break. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has continued his stance that another relief bill was too soon, although many states will be slamming up against a new fiscal year starting on July 1, 2020. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), last year, 17 states enacted a two-year budget covering both fiscal year 2020 and 2021 with the remaining 33 working on or needing to amend their budgets for the fiscal year 2021. All but four states end their current fiscal year on June 30, 2020.

As these June days tick off, the cuts by states on a range of programs and the related jobs will become much clearer, closer, and real. Last month, bills were introduced in both houses with bipartisan support that would provide state and local governments with $500 billion in additional fiscal relief. S 3752 is sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) along with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA). Other senators signing on as original cosponsors include Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ). The pressure will build as a May 2020 survey by NASBO tracked and showed the state strain. State revenue loss includes this sampling of the 50 states:

• Arkansas – State revenue down by 28.3% last month (May 5)
• California – California Income Tax Payments Plunge 85% in April (May 4)
• Georgia – Georgia tax revenue drops $1 billion in April as pandemic takes its toll (May 6)
• Illinois – ‘Perfect Storm’ Hits Illinois As Revenue Drops $2.74B in April: Report (May 5)
• Indiana – Indiana state revenues plunge $1 billion in April amid coronavirus shutdown (May 11)
• Iowa – Iowa tax revenue drops by 48% as tax deadlines pushed back over coronavirus (April 28)
• Kansas – Kansas tax collections down 51.4% compared to last April (May 1)
• Kentucky – Kentucky tax collections plummet in April due to coronavirus (May 6)
• Louisiana – ‘It’s surreal’: Louisiana tax collections plummet nearly $500M as lawmakers balance budget (May 7)
• Massachusetts – April tax collections plunge by $2.3 billion (May 5)
• Michigan – Michigan tax revenues plunged more than 40% in April (May 8)
• Missouri – ‘Highly concerning’: Coronavirus slashes Missouri tax revenues in half in April (May 7)
• New Jersey – J. tax collections sank a staggering $3.5B in April due to the coronavirus (May 13)
• New York – N.Y. Tax Revenue Plummets 68% in April, Comptroller Says (May 15)
• Ohio – Ohio tax revenues plummeted in April during first full month of coronavirus closures, new numbers show (May 6)
• Oklahoma – Oklahoma revenue collections fall by half a billion dollars in April (May 7)
• South Carolina – Pandemic takes a 43% bite out of South Carolina’s state revenues (May 12)
• Texas – State sales taxes fall 9.3%, sharpest plunge in a decade (May 1)
• West Virginia – WV budget deficit grows to $198M as April revenue collection plummets (May 1)

The CWLA April recommendations for the next COVID-19 relief legislation are included in the CWLA’s letter along with this descriptive letter of child welfare needs. Here is a video diary from CBS News on COVID-19’s impact to the child welfare and human services field. The video diary which CWLA members helped to facilitate highlights the significant role that child welfare workers play. Take the time to view this nine-minute video diary of some of the dedicated child welfare workers providing vital services to children and families across the country. We have created an action alert for you to share the five-minute version of this video diary with your Members of Congress. It is vital that Congress see what these essential workers are doing every day. To take action, click here.