NEW ORLEANS - Due to a recent amendment on SB 189 on the House floor this week, the City of New Orleans could lose at least $50M of funding from the CARES Act. This means SB 189, which has now passed the House and Senate in its current form would:
- Redirect $300 million of the State's $811M of CARES Act funding intended for local governments to businesses;
- Shorten the time period for eligible expenses (Congress intended to cover local governments through December but the Louisiana Legislature is shortening to September); and
- Expand bureaucracy by mandating the Legislator Auditor play additional role of expenditure review.
"Cities are very limited as to what is reimbursable by FEMA. That is why Congress made these funds available for local governments that expended considerable resources due to COVID-19 at a time when local economies shut down, and cities faced simultaneous revenue shortfalls," said Council President Jason Williams. "How can businesses thrive if local government can't provide basic essential services? I strongly urge the Louisiana Legislature, to strip this amendment and allow for local governments to receive the funding that is desperately needed and deserved to recover."
"The City of New Orleans has been expecting $148.7M from the CARES Act, but that has now been reduced to $93M under SB 189. This is a major shock to the City. Already, we've been struggling to make the numbers work to ensure essential city services. Now with another $50M potential reduction, it's a devastating blow. We all want to support businesses, but businesses also need city services to be successful. This shouldn't be local government vs. business. We should continue to ensure that the federal government provide business assistance. In fact, so far, $167M in small business loans have been awarded in Louisiana," said Councilmember Vice President Helena Moreno.
The bill now goes to a Senate and House Conference Committee to make a determination on the final outcome of the bill and bring it back to a full vote of both Houses. That decision is expected to take place Sunday.
Office of Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno