April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22

ADVOCACY

Local governments and their park and recreation
departments need to receive more attention
and funding from the federal government as we
continue to recover from COVID-19.

The Case for Local Relief
By Kathy Maness

M

arch marked the passage of one year of the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic's catastrophic impacts on life in the
United States. As we look back, one often-forgotten sector
has been profoundly impacted, but has received little attention from Washington, D.C. - local governments.
Local governments provide infrastructure in our communities that is
appreciated but expected, including
local park and recreation facilities.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the average local government has
experienced a 20 percent drop in
revenues, while simultaneously experiencing nearly a 20 percent increase
in expenditures. This sudden disparity between demand for services
and capacity to meet that demand
has brought many cities near their
breaking point. Local governments
have been forced to cut jobs to offset
revenue loss. This has been a serious
problem since the beginning of the

22	 Parks & Recreation

pandemic, but it came to a head when
nearly 25 percent of the 140,000 jobs
lost nationwide during December
were local government jobs.
One issue that has impeded progress on the matter is that state and
local governments are often lumped
together in discussions surrounding
relief. While both types of government have experienced significant
revenue shortfalls during the pandemic, their funding mechanisms
are much different.
State government revenues rely
primarily on capital gains taxes,
which have responded more quickly
due to the stock market's tendency to

| A P R I L 2 02 1 | PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G

rebound at a faster rate than the real
economy. Local government revenues are predominantly financed by
intergovernmental transfers, property taxes and sales taxes, and, as such,
are far more reliant on local economic conditions than activity on Wall
Street. Congress must recognize this
as it seeks to provide relief.
The timeliness of federal response to local needs also is fundamentally important during a crisis
like COVID-19. The expeditious
allocation of federal funds to local
governments is critical to maintain
stable services until economic conditions rebound to normal levels.
In 2020, the lengthy pause in talks
regarding additional stimulus was
incredibly harmful.
The initial aid passed in early 2020
was insufficient to keep our towns
and cities providing essential services



April 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of April 2021 - Parks & Recreation

April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
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April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com