Dear Madam Speaker, Senators Schumer and McConnell and Representative McCarthy,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for the budget reconciliation language providing $350 billion in flexible aid for State and local governments, which have experienced severe revenue shortages as a result of the pandemic. Without this funding, the ability of these governments to deliver services, including vital public safety services, will be greatly diminished or even eliminated.
Last year, prior to the declaration of the National Emergency, the FOP notified Congress that law enforcement would need Federal resources in order to maintain public safety. More than 90% of our nation’s law enforcement are responding to the current crisis from the local level and some of these governments have had to reduce the number of law enforcement officers serving their communities due to revenue decreases. In Kansas City, Missouri, the mayor’s proposed budget cuts $12 million from the city’s police department and specifically states that “Congressional inaction” on the issue of State and local aid is to blame.
This is not a blue state or a red state issue. State and local governments are struggling due to lost revenue from tourism, energy-related taxes, sales taxes, and personal income taxes. This loss of revenue is exacerbated as costs rose considerably during the previous surge of COVID-19 cases. Even now that vaccines are available, it will still take time for our economy to recover. Failing to support State and local governments will only lengthen the time for this recovery to take place.
On behalf of the more than 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I urge the Senate to maintain the $350 billion in aid to State and local governments to ensure that public safety agencies can continue to keep our communities safe. Thank you in advance for your consideration of our views on this matter. If I can be of any assistance whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.