Montgomery County officials urged Sen. Chris Van Hollen on Monday to work for the state to provide additional funds to counties through a third federal COVID-19 relief package.
According to the letter, Montgomery County could lose $25 million in income tax revenues every month as fallout from the coronavirus cripples the economy.
The federal package, which would provide an additional $150 billion for state and local governments, is being negotiated between congressional leaders and the administration. Counties would receive $29.5 billion of the funds, based on population.
Through another federal stimulus package — the CARES, or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security, Act — Montgomery County is set to receive $183.2 million.
At the County Council’s meeting Thursday, Budget Director Richard Madaleno said county officials expect to receive the funds soon, but were waiting on clarification from the federal government on how the money could be used.
The funds are required to be only used on coronavirus-related expenses from March 1 to December.
The county officials who sent the letter to Van Hollen — County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council — asked that he urge Congress to allow for the funds provided under the CARES Act to be used for community response and replacement of lost revenues incurred.
“The Comptroller’s Office has estimated that we will all see our income tax revenues from withholding drop by 25% for each month that our economy remains in a ‘coma.’ … This unprecedented drop in revenues is happening at the same time as demand for local services dramatically increases,” the county officials wrote.
They wrote that the “recessionary spiral” will worsen if local governments must decrease spending with “plummeting revenues.”
According to the council’s staff, the county could lose up to $600 million in tax revenue combined for this year and next year because of the effects from the coronavirus pandemic.
Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For other Bethesda Beat coverage of the coronavirus, click here.
To see a timeline of major coronavirus developments in Maryland and Montgomery County, click here.