tv Washington Journal Steve Ellis CSPAN December 29, 2020 2:13pm-2:58pm EST
c-span.org/coronavirus to follow the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak. watch our searchable video anytime on demand and a tractor spread with interactive maps, all at c-span.org/coronavirus. announcer: -- --t: julian us this morning joining us as executive director of the national league of cities, here to talk about how the pandemic has impacted cities and their budgets. mr. anthony, how will the $900 billion relief package help u.s. cities? first of all, thank you for this opportunity to talk about what is happening in cities and villages across america. what we were looking for an stimulus bill was money directly to state and local governments, to be able to assist the
frontline leaders, who are on the streets every day in the neighborhoods and associations and supermarkets talking about -- talking to residents about what is happening in their life. we are more than disappointed. we are just angry because there is no question those dollars going to small businesses and housing, and other programs, are in the $82 billion going to universities and schools. we think that is important. we also know it is important to be able to get money directly to those state and local governments there every day delivering, and their police departments, ems. honestly, we did not get anything directly to help us respond even more effectively to the impact on
the pandemic on local governments. we are just disappointed. host: clarence anthony is the former mayor of south bay, florida for 24 years. the former president of national league of cities, the nl c. how would you describe the budgets of u.s. cities during this pandemic? the budgets have been devastated. we are responsible for making the pandemic response is managed in an effective manner. governmentsf local saw they were going to have a major impact on their budget. what we saw was there was not only a 21% increase on the expenditures, we also saw there
was a 17% decrease in revenues. what that caused us to do was gave us a look at our budget, which we are required to balance. we are not like the federal government who prints money. we have to balance our budgets every day, every year. the 17%saw was lostditures and 21% revenue, we so we had to cut police service, cut programs essential to the delivery of needs of our community, had to delay infrastructure investments , and when we looked at the number of jobs that are projected to be lost between 2020 and 2022, we are looking at hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost.
that is not helping anybody. anyone that knows anything about economics knows that the local level, the basic things, the city and towns, and villages, involved in the economy. they will be the ones that bring us even quicker back. congress promised us i would say a christmas miracle. what they did in every stocking of every mayor and council member in america, was they basically placed a lump of clay there, with no ability to be able to help this economy come back. money --t the host: what about the money in this $900 billion relief package? you are looking at $6,000, potentially $2000, for adults. and money if you have -- $600,
potentially $2000, for adults. $284 billion for the paycheck protection program, $82 billion for schools and colleges. doesn't this help cities? guest: it does. it helps the local economy, the small business dollars and there. -- in there. it helps those trying to get started or maintain. there is no question they are able to pay their bills and mortgages. that is important to the local economy. the local government response, though, is different. ton you think about the need keep the water running, to give the water systems running in local communities, to be able to establish programs for feeding and distribution in local communities, that is done out of
the budget, the pockets of the cities. i think america needs to recognize that maybe we only see it as a local government, but it is a business. it provides a service, and that is based upon the revenues that are created and support we would expect for the work we are doing from the federal government. we don't have a partner at this point. we are just upset and disappointed, because we found this became very political. democrat, republican, we saw where the republicans did not want to give money to the cities. because of politics. the democrats promised they would fight to the end around getting money to local governments. negotiations occurred, and we were left direct funding.
there was no direct funding for governments. the basic reason why we were pushing for this is, if we are going to be responsible for the ofagement and implementation these initiatives in our community, we need resources to do that. much money were local governments asking for? guest: we were asking for, in the original bill, $250 billion. over a two year. -- two year period. that would go to both cities and counties. we were fighting for that, because every day my phone rings or i get any email from a mayor saying we are going to have to cut jobs. we are going to have to cut programs. we need help from the local governments. from the federal government.
think -- manyimes times, americans think of the big cities, chicago, new york cities. these are middle, and small sit -- middle sized and small cities impacted more than the large cities in america. the towns and villages in georgia, the towns and villages in florida where i am from, are also hurting even more, because there is a greater increase in the small cities from the pandemic. and they are not able to really distribute and manage the resources of the community, because they do not have a federal partner who is giving funding for them to do so. host: according to brookings, state and local governments, employment represents 13% of the total u.s. employment, more than
the federal government, and tax revenues represent 9% of gdp. clarence anthony? guest: yes. i think what we are looking at is we are going to see where, over the next couple years, we will see $98 billion for a budget gap in local government'' budgets. i just think that is a weponsible to knowledge that play such a major impact on the nation's economy, but yet, congress has not recognized that. lets me be clear, we will keep doing our job, because that is what the local communities expect of us. they are going to continue to call us to do our job. they will not understand the
federal government did not provide direct funding. i want the american people to understand that we, as city leaders, town and village leaders all over america, need a partner in the federal government. and we did not get one. in addition, we got to recognize that we're the ones that will be the ones that have to deliver it. america ist, if going to return its economy back to pre-covid times, it starts at the local level. and citizens expect we will do that, and i hope the federal government will do that, in the future. host: let's get to phone calls. this is how we the divide -- we divide lines, in the city, (202) 748-8000. municipal employee,
we want to hear from you at (202) 748-8001. oryou live in rural america all others, dial in at (202) 748-8002. caller: thank you very much, good morning. you bring us unfiltered news and that is priceless. mr. anthony, thank you for doing what you do. i make a plea to the state of georgia, america needs you. up new administration coming will not be able to effectively pass the bills they need to help of rev.ut the help warnock and jon ossoff. the extentir help to that the president elect has
made advertisements to promote of jonnda with the help ossoff and rev. warnock. please, georgia, show up for america. thank you. clarence, you have any thoughts on what he had to say? as the national league of cities,. we are not democratic or republican. . cities,artisan toward that is the bottom line. the electionter and the president is sworn in they will get to work on a new stimulus bill that will provide direct funding for cities, towns, and villages. the cases are rising across the country and they are not going down.
local governments are rushing to put infrastructure in place to distribute the vaccine to residents. an important part in this moment of bringing our nation back. when the election is over in georgia and they get back to , all what we are expecting citizens are expecting, they will focus on the health and safety of our nation. again, most citizens don't look to their federal leaders to do that. them in the grocery store, they see them out exercising and they want a response now. all we are asking is pretty federal government to do their job and participate with us. host: according to the hill newspaper, disbelief package includes $20 billion for vaccine
purchase, $8 billion to distribute the vaccine, and an additional $20 billion for testing. at the local level. . is that enough to cover the infrastructure you're talking about for cities? to recover from the pandemic? -- to recover from the pandemic? guest: i think all of those programs are important to get america safe and healthy. what i think it's going to happen with those dollars is it will become political. what we are saying is that yes, those dollars going to the state level for distribution is important. they need to get down to the closest and most trusted level of government and that is cities, towns, and villages. the cares act sent money to the cities with the top
population. some of it never got down to the local level. hoping that through the passing of this bill, even the distribution and coordination, there would be language saying it gets to the counties and cities which really need to be managed. i don't know yet if that will happen in a quick fashion. that is what we would have wanted to get it down to the most local level in our government system. host: we will go to sarah in hanover, virginia. forer: thank you so much "washington journal". i am a senior caretaker. i have had more time to spend behind the tv during covid and
watch something that matters. watching the legislators make laws on the floor. if people are not doing that, please take time to do that. you learned so much about how the legislation is made but also you are not getting just the media spin on it. you're actually getting your legislators on the floor speaking for you. that is what matters. what i would like to address -- i am in virginia. money.eryone wants state -- i wouldpandemic like for you to answer me a question. how could anyone justify spending millions of dollars taking down statues? guest: i am not sure if that is
a question i can respond to on behalf of cities, towns, and villages. that is a local decision and not a national decision. the community, the mayor, the city council members and officials that lead those communities make those decisions . impact ofs on the local government and the fact that cities, towns, and villages are the ones on the forefront of sure the housing programs, the moratoriums, the distribution, all of those things are what i'm focused on. you would need to talk to your local folks in your community about statue removal. host: we will go to sam next in michigan. you work for the city, what do you do?
caller: i used to work for the city of saint augustine beach in florida. they never let us forget that in the city are what made it work. if they didn't have taxes, the city wouldn't work. beach is hotels and restaurants. businessesall detail -- they cater to tourists. if you don't have that income, the city want function. manager, without him i would not be where i am today.
guest: thank you so much for that acknowledgment of what local governments do every day. sam is right. especially in tourism, our communities whether they are rural or urban communities have had to shut down. inse businesses are hurting a substantial way. there are dollars in this stimulus program that provide relief for them. subsidies, lexington, south carolina, for example created a local funding program for small businesses. budgets and own that is what local governments have to do. we can't wait on the federal government but we deserve a partner. host: patrick is in chicago.
good morning to you. caller: good morning. host: patrick, you are breaking up. i'm going to have to ask you to call in. let's go to marcus in shreveport, louisiana. caller: good morning. host: turned on your television, turn down the volume and talk and listen through your phone. are you with us, marcus? folks, you have got to turn down the television. listen and talk to the phone. tom in florida. hi, tom. caller: my television is muted. irony.d to point out the
back in the day, when the taxpayers filled out chrysler and it was a good thing to do because their back was strong. poa --ernment bailed out ..o.a. -- boa the rationale is that they were too big to fail yet there were some republicans not wanting to give these stimulus checks to the average american family. like the average american family is small enough to fail. if the small family fails, who's going to buy from boa? host: clarence anthony? guest: i think that makes sense that as we supported the private
pastr corporations in the and even through other provisions in the stimulus bill that we find ways to support the local governments. the bailout word i think is a misnomer for what we are asking for. that is not what we are asking for. we are asking for financial aid to be able to assist with the services and needs of the local community and also to support us and what we have been doing. pnfs have been out there responding on streets and neighborhoods. our public works employees have been working to coordinate the distribution and management. our police are out there every day. what is making me nervous even more are the stories i am
reading nationally about the impact of covid-19 on our fire and police departments where they are contracting the virus at 30% or 14% of their -- up -- theirpercent or 14% of workforce. have dollars for that over time and respond to the health needs of our community. we are asking for support so we can help all of our citizens be able to get healthy again. heart to see the impact on people of color internation where they are dying three times higher than any other population in america -- then the white population in america.
this is not just data, these are jobs and people who are losing their lives. the question is who is responding to it on a daily basis. it is local leaders and our employees. that is why we are asking for this, we are not asking for a bailout. you respond to tony in florida who sends this text to say "there is no money tree in washington. local governments can finance their shortfalls through bonds." guest: i am getting a lot of calls for my friends of florida which i appreciate. let me say this, most of the time when you look at municipal bonds it is associated with products like wastewater products or infrastructure projects. distribution the or the testing or the response from police and ems.
i think local governments can and will do that, no question. but when you think about the people who are hurting i day to day basis trying to pay their mortgage or put food on their table, that is not a bond issue. a bond issue is based upon the ability to pay it back on revenue that is generated by that facility whether it is a water waste facility. those are two separate things. the only other option which i don't think is a good option is to try to raise taxes. why would we raise taxes on people who are already hurting? perspective onur that so i can clear it up. it is not a tool for helping us to address this issue. comes fromer text don who says "i am a farmer and
variability is part of my life. i have drug years that don't cover my loan. i live on hope there will be better years to recover. in the meantime, i have to make adjustments for my budget limitations. maybe you need to manage for nature's ups and downs in life. your excuse this pandemic is not your fault, but it is no more an excuse that droughts are my fault." i think that is right and i agree. i hope that you're okay and that there is no drought this year. hope we don't see another pandemic like this in our lifetime forever in our nation -- or ever in our nation. but it is here and local governments on the front lines. we will balance our budgets because we are required to do
that. hope, hope is not a plan. hope is a vision. our vision is that we are hopeful that congress will recognize the role of local governments. if you get these calls like i do every day for these emails with people crying and asking where are we going to -- how are we going to be able to continue to manage and provide support to our citizens as mayors and council members, and i don't have that answer without direct dollars from the federal government. we are going to balance our budget but it should not take us having to be able to cut all the programs that are necessary to do that.
host: cory in iowa. caller: good morning. subject i want to raise is that social security member -- social security benefits is money they put in working their entire lives. it is not a government welfare program. congress should not have dip their fingers into that program and they would not be broke. package, wemulus need to get to the lowest of income people first. a minimum wage, you have no buffer and no savings. your living hand to mouth. the stimulus package should go to the lowest income people first and go down a sliding
scale. the more money you make, the less stimulus you should receive a $75,000 a year income bracket -- for anybody that makes $75,000 a year in rural iowa is making a lot of money. the maximum income you can get through our state, you have to make less than $1200 and months. that is just over $15,000 a year. betweena big difference $15,000 a year and $75,000. host: what is your question or your point for mr. anthony? everybody is as needful as the minimum-wage people that are hurting right now. $2000imulus package is
but not everybody is in need of that. host: got it. mr. anthony, your thoughts? i think that is the way the bill is written. from a local government perspective, we think it is important to try to get money in the hands of people who support their families. we need to make sure all the residents are getting the support they need as it relates to the 600 -- $600 to $2000. i think it would be important to get money in the hands of residents as soon as possible. able tont them to be pay their bills and maintain support for their families.
host: eli in florida asks this, aren't governments using the municipal loan program? put low loans that would the ownership back to the local taxpayer to pay back in the future versus having federal cross-state taxes pay for local needs?" guest: that program is a very difficult program essentially for small cities to be able to guarantee they can infect repay those dollars which is at a low interest rate. as a matter of fact, i think there is a population requirement associated with it. don't quote me on that. cannot apply for that program. no moreve only been
than 10 to seize -- 10 cities all over american -- all over america who have applied and been approved for that program. it is not one that is available to all cities throughout america. it is only available to larger cities. host: darrell in north carolina. caller: good morning, this is darrell. concernedy, i am about the idea of not funding local government. there is a contradiction there in the contradiction is we don't want to fund local government because they are cities and states. they are "largely blue." when you say those things it is ridiculous.
if you're talking about defunding the police, when you don't have local governments, when you don't have state governments, when you don't have local people, you are defunding the police. thank you for that tostion and the opportunity respond to that. at the national league of cities, we are nonpartisan. as i said earlier, we are not democratic, we are not republican leaning. we are partisan to cities. as we look at those policies you areed about, our leaders the ones working every day to address the public service issues related to the police department. what we want to do is reimagine our police departments, not defund them. we want to be able to talk about
the responsibility of the police department. the responsibility is to protect and serve all of the residents. right now, our police departments are responding to mental health issues, social service issues. sure there are dollars put into the budgets and states and federal governments to be able to do that. there are moneys put into the budget or into the stimulus bill that relates to community relations which is important. i'm not contradicting myself. what i am saying is let's recognize who is actually doing the work and who is responding on the ground every day. that is your city leaders, that is not your federal leaders. that is not your state leaders. that is your mayors, council
members, and others who work for your local government. host: sarah in virginia. you work for the city, sarah? i am a-- caller: medicaid care worker, nine dollars and $.70 per hour. $.70 --dollars and $9.70 per hour. i am in that catch-22. much money hole too to qualify for medicaid assistance. -- i make too little to survive. i did call in earlier but i was not able to hear your response.
questionike to ask my in a different form. during the pandemic, we saw amounts of writing and other things that were produced by other things that happened after the pandemic. heard that time, we cities and states say we are backing off, we are letting them go, we are not going in. weare not using our police paid for to address the issue, get it cleaned up, stop the writing and destruction. here -- to stop the rioting and destruction. people virginia, we had breaking windows and businesses. a window cost money. cleaning something off of a building cost money. the states and local governments were putting money into all of to clean thes -- the cities
backup. how can we spend so much money doing those things and in some where they were saying to the federal government to please come in and clean this up today. host: i think we know your point. clarence anthony, do you have any thoughts about the cost of the rioting we saw the summer on budgets?ities' guest: this pandemic has exposed a lot of disparities in america. disparities economically, jobs, educational levels in america. i talked about it a little bit earlier. and hispanicsans
are contracting the disease at a higher level than any other group and dying three times quicker than might -- then white americans. we saw the horrific murder of george floyd in minnesota. when you start compiling all of pandemic, thethe acknowledgment that people of color are being killed at a high -- i'md you look at going to use the protests against those disparities. allame at a time where we as americans were trying to
figure out where we are going as a nation. then you look at the cost of , as sarah talked about, the impact of the small needs.es and others' the responses were done by cities and city leaders and their budgets. that is our responsibility. we had to respond to the protests and try to manage that protest. we could just say to send in federal leaders. i hope america will look at this as an opportunity. racism beingtemic exposed, institutional racism being exposed, what the national
league of cities cease is how to reimagine -- to look at those data points and say these equity points cannot continue to exist and our municipal leaders are going to respond to those by looking at the gaps and creating initiatives that will include all americans. that every citizen that lives in that community feels they can call that place home, a place they feel comfortable walking down the street, that they know the police are there to protect and serve. sarah, that is the role of municipal leadership and that is the role we will play in the future. host: thank you very much for the conversation. guest: thank you on behalf of the national league of cities. be safe and healthy in 2021. host: announcer: today in delaware,
joe biden will talk about the rising coronavirus cases across the u.s., and how his administration will respond. watch everybody 5 p.m. eastern on c-span -- 3:45 p.m. eastern on c-span. announcer: with covid-19 relief legislation approved by congress and coronavirus vaccines being administered, use our website, c-span.org/coronavirus to follow the federal response to the outbreak. watch our searchable video anytime on demand and tractor spread with interactive maps, all at c-span.org/coronavirus. today in the senate, republican leader mitch mcconnell set up a vote to override president trump's veto of the defense authorization bill containing military pay increases, defense programs and more funding for next year, but then blocked an attempt to pass
the hospital that increases covid-19 relief payments from 600 to $2000. now bernie sanders and others are blocking a quicker about on the veto override, unless the senate holds a vote the covid-19 relief checks, pushing the override vote toward the end of the week watch -- week. watch live coverage of the center on c-span2. host: we are joined by a familiar face, clarence page, here with us on this christmas morning. also a panelist on the moloch one group -- , welcome in merry christmas. guest: merry christmas to you, bill. host: we started asking our viewers and listeners about this christmas day 2020 at how things have changed over the past year. politicsandemic and affected the gatherings and
celebrations on christmas 2020. what are your thoughts? guest: we did not have any idea a year ago what kind of impact the pandemic was going to have. it would be a pandemic. it wasn't until mid-march they shut down borders. we realized this would grind our society to a halt. nachos here but across the western world. -- not just here but across the western world. it changed the election prospects a lot. president trump was doing well. he had not reached 50% as far as approval, which is kind of a distinction of has among modern presidents. he was scoring well on the economy as an issue. on his way to possibly a victorious contest, but look what happened. the way he handled the pandemic,
whether you approve or not, had a big impact on how people perceived his presidency. i think that was the biggest issue, the handling of the pandemic. thebiden was a return to old. even those who were aggressively pushing for the new nonetheless are willing to compromise and put him in the office. it did change a lot of perceptions. host: what are your concerns about the final 25 days of the trump administration? this weekend for the uncertainty over the passage of additional covid relief and the uncertainty over the outcome of the vote in congress on the electoral college on january 6? day fort's a great complicated questions. i will try to simplify it.
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