by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
On April 13, The John Locke Foundation, in collaboration with the Platte Institute and 24 other state-based think tanks, sent a letter to Congress calling for more flexibility under the CARES Act. On Wednesday, April 22, Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times wrote about it for the paper. Dinan writes:
Congress needs to fix the coronavirus stimulus it passed last month or else it will spur states to go on spending binges in order to use up the cash, even if it doesn’t actually help control the epidemic, a coalition of taxpayer groups and free market think tanks warned in a letter last week…
“We ask Congress to allow states the ability to use their relief assistance in the most prudent and least disruptive way possible,” they said in an April 13 letter, led by the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina and the Platte Institute in Nebraska, and signed by 23 other groups *
They suggested Congress, in upcoming legislation, allow states to use their money to offset lost revenue that would normally fund their basic operations, or to provide their own stimulus tax relief to individuals and businesses, on top of the federal stimulus.
In a press release following the letter, the John Locke Foundation explains the purpose of the letter:
The letter reminds congressional leaders that new COVID-19 costs linked to Medicaid and public education already are covered by other federal measures. Additional new costs tied to the coronavirus pandemic “would not come close to the full amount appropriated except through budgetary gluttony,” according to the letter.
Rather than force states to add new spending, an amended Coronavirus Relief Fund could help states address billions of lost dollars in tax and fee revenue that “cannot be recovered.”
*Since the Washington Times publication, the Palmetto Promise Institute has signed onto the letter