Alaska chopped resources for public broadcasting. New York City gutted a nascent composting program that could have kept tons of food waste out of landfills. New Jersey postponed property-tax relief payments. Prisoners in Florida will continue to swelter in their cells, because plans to air-condition its prisons are on hold. Many states have already cut planned raises for teachers. And that’s just the start.
Across the nation, states and cities have made an array of fiscal maneuvers to stay solvent and are planning more in case Congress can’t agree on a fiscal relief package after the August recess.
House Democrats included nearly $1 trillion in state and local aid in the relief bill they passed in May, but the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has said he doesn’t want to hand out a “blank check” to pay for what he considers fiscal mismanagement, including the enormous public-pension obligations some states have accrued. There has been little movement in that stalemate lately.