U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) said the feds will deliver billions of dollars to prop up local governments that have lost substantial amounts of tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, after Williamson County Commissioner Gregg Lawrence told Green during a COVID-19 Tele-Town Hall this week that he and his colleagues need help. Green held the event by telephone.
“We are trying to assess the damage right now of how much tax revenue we are going to lose out of this, but we know right now we have lost about 20,000 hotel room nights, which is a lot of tax revenue, sales taxes and other things,” Lawrence said.“Budget-wise, we are really struggling to make our budgets this year, both in the city of Franklin and the county.”
Green said on the call that the feds have allocated hundreds of billions of dollars to go through the state governments and then down to the local communities for their lost sales tax revenues.
“Our state will be impacted heavily because we are a sales tax state. The mechanisms for accessing that will be run through the states,” Green said.
“There is going to be more money for that. I do believe that the next vote that will be held in Congress will be an increase to PPP, and I know they are in the Senate right now talking about adding at least $150 billion to the states and to the communities. It probably will grow beyond that. As soon as we have both mechanisms for distribution we will make sure that is on our website and that we include it on our next town hall with mayors.”
Green’s staff did not return The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Wednesday, nor did anyone from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s office.
The Star emailed all 24 Williamson County commissioners Wednesday and asked if they will cut the county’s budget and/or raise property taxes to make up for the tax revenue shortfall.
The only county commissioner who responded, Paul Webb, would only say in an email that he and his colleagues are currently planning a “status quo” budget for 2020-2021.
“We do not have final guidance from state or federal officials about any funding for lost county revenues due to the stay-at-home orders. I expect this will be coming soon as we are all preparing our budgets for next fiscal year and the budget challenges related to this unique event,” Webb said.
“We are in an unknown environment at this time. I am relying on our dedicated staff in the mayor’s office to keep up with the latest information from Nashville and Washington regarding any funding coming to the county to offset our revenue losses during this time period.”
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