NLC responds to Obama’s State of the Union
President Obama’s emphasis on job creation in his State of the Union address was good news for the Washington-based National League of Cities (NLC). In December and early January, NLC called on the administration and Congress to provide more aid to cities in light of a report that showed municipal leaders expected budget shortfalls to continue until 2011.
Mayors and city officials see the effects of the recession first hand, and they want to see a new federal stimulus package soon, NLC President and Riverside, Calif., Mayor Ronald Loveridge says in his response to Obama’s Wednesday night speech.
“We see more and more families needing assistance to meet their basic needs and who want to work, but cannot find good jobs,” Loveridge says in his statement. “This is why we applaud the President’s call for a jobs package building on the nation’s incipient economic recovery. City leaders continue to see an urgent situation, as the fall-out from the recession has not yet abated on Main Street.”
Loveridge says any jobs package should include investments in public and private sector jobs, and in roads, bridges and highways. The new stimulus should also ensure “a credit market that works for and not against small businesses and local governments,” he says.
In December, NLC released a report, “City Budget Shortfalls and Responses: Projections for 2010-2012,” that found that the municipal sector likely will face a fiscal shortfall between $56 billion and $83 billion from 2010 to 2012 as the result of declining tax revenues, ongoing service demands and cuts in state revenues. At that time and in early January, Loveridge began calling for federal assistance to help create jobs and stabilize city budgets. “While [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funds are beginning to arrive in cities, without greater federal intervention cities will continue to slide and will hobble the national recovery for years to come,” he said. “We urge federal action that would create jobs. Inaction at the federal level could worsen the already difficult situation facing cities and the country.”
In his post-State of the Union statement, Loveridge says city leaders want to work with the federal government to restore the nation’s fiscal health. “Our country is at a key juncture,” he says. “We can choose to provide our families and our cities with a solid foundation for future growth by investing in our infrastructure, our neighborhoods and the new green economy, or we can steal their hope and endanger the foundation of prosperity for the next generation.”