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How should we protect public budgets?

Johnson City Press • Apr 27, 2020 at 8:22 AM

With much of the world on pause to prevent the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, people are spending less.

Some have unfortunately lost their jobs and are truly struggling. Others, essential employees and employees privileged with opportunities to work from home, have fewer opportunities to eat meals out and buy luxury items.

Gas prices have plummeted, because fewer people are driving and demand has dropped.

Global, national, state and local economies are slumping, and leaders are worried about declining revenues.

As with all economic declines, governments bring in less revenue. Tax collections fall, and expenses for unemployment, health care and other services increase.

We may be facing broad deficits in the coming months and years. That’s part of the reason Gov. Bill Lee and other leaders are anxious to restart idled business activity as soon as possible.

Regardless of the timing, our elected officials will likely face some difficult decisions to fill in funding gaps.

We’ve already seen some federal stimulus money sent to some Americans, and some small business owners are able to apply for emergency loans to help pay expenses during the pandemic.

We’re asking this week about the measures you believe should be taken to protect public budgets.

Are tax increases a tenable solution? Should the federal government provide more stimulus and emergency funding to state and local governments? Maybe you believe a combination of options should be available.

Send your answers to [email protected]. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length.

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