Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper sent a letter to the North Carolina Congressional Delegation asking for their continued support addressing the critical needs of the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cooper called on the delegation to help North Carolina accomplish a complete recovery while addressing health care needs.
“The actions you take in the next few weeks are vital to our ability to emerge from this crisis and restore economic prosperity. We cannot beat this crisis if we do not ensure our economy can survive the duration of the virus, and we will not beat the virus if we do not follow best public health guidance and properly resource and implement robust testing, contact tracing and isolation capabilities required for an effective recovery strategy,” the governor wrote in the letter.
North Carolina state and local governments have suffered significant financial losses; the total local and state general revenue decline surpasses $5 billion. The letter asks Congress to direct federal funds be specifically allocated to state, county and municipal governments to ensure that they each receive direct funds to aid in their recovery.
Cooper urged Congress to allow flexibility in both current and prospective federal funds to ensure that dollars can be spent for revenue replacement and other critical needs. Additionally, Congress should encourage FEMA to provide 100 percent federal reimbursement for non-federal cost share for state and local costs of responding to the pandemic.
This week, Cooper announced that North Carolina schools would open on a limited basis, giving parents and school districts the option to select remote learning. North Carolina school children need access to high-speed internet and nutrition for in-person and distance learning students. The letter urges Congress to take measures to ensure that K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities have the funds they need to purchase cleaning supplies, provide PPE and other materials needed for health and safety.
The governor also requested a temporary increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Program (FMAP) to 12 percent until at least September 30, 2021, to allow the state to address the COVID-19 related demands on our healthcare system and provide flexibility with other available funds.
COVID-19 has caused a devastating increase in unemployment and continued supplemental federal unemployment benefits are vital for North Carolinians and the recovery of the North Carolina economy. In the letter, Cooper urges other supports for small business and workers such as the State Small Business Credit Initiative to provide immediate access to funds for NC small business, and also encourages Congress to provide a federal rent and utility assistance package to help families struggling to keep up with expenses during the pandemic.
Read Governor Cooper’s Letter.