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Mayor Woodards on the HEROES Act

A Statement From Mayor Victoria Woodards on the HEROES Act


May 15, 2020


Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5152
Maria Lee, Media and Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054

A Statement From Mayor Victoria Woodards on the HEROES Act

TACOMA, Wash. – "I am proud of Tacoma’s first responders and essential workers who stepped up when called upon to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Our public employees have supported the emergency response, provided municipal services, and administered new benefits for individuals, nonprofits and businesses. Fighting the virus requires the full strength and capacity of local government. It also demands the support of the federal government. I am grateful for the leadership of our Washington state delegation working toward that objective.

I understand there are some lawmakers who want to pause and see how CARES programs are working before taking further action. Tacoma did not qualify for any direct relief from the U.S. Department of Treasury under that legislation. After negotiations with Washington state, the City of Tacoma expects a sub-allocation of $6 million. This is our experience as a city with fewer than 500,000 residents to date, fulfilling our intergovernmental obligations without adequate or equitable federal support.

The City of Tacoma is dealing with severe fiscal distress, projecting revenue losses of at least $64 million in 2020. In response, the City was forced to temporarily lay off more than 250 employees. Our federal partners must act swiftly to support these local heroes. We cannot fail our police, fire, EMS, and contracted social services providers. Nor can we leave vital health workers, transit operators, and the many other partners we depend upon during this crisis unsupported. Inaction is not acceptable.

I welcomed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s introduction of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act this week. This proposal fulfills a shared responsibility to protect our public employees and ensures that Tacoma and other local governments receive direct relief regardless of size. These federal resources will help us bring back and maintain personnel throughout the recovery, providing essential workers with the dignity and security they deserve, while preserving the crucial services and infrastructure that every resident and business in our community depends on.

The bill also provides greater security for all Tacoma residents in need. It includes direct economic relief payments, extended unemployment benefits, rental and mortgage assistance, increased food assistance, and improvements to Small Business Administration resources that will enhance access for our nonprofits and minority- and woman-owned small businesses.

I applaud the House for taking immediate action to provide support for our city and all local governments tasked with leading this response. Our municipal workers should not have to wait until after Memorial Day for relief. Prolonged uncertainty, especially in response to their selfless acts of service, is needlessly cruel. I urge the Senate and Administration to take immediate action and provide the local aid we need in Tacoma.”