CSAC Bulletin Article

Study Sheds Light on Counties’ Fiscal Challenges

April 1, 2021

It’s no April Fool’s joke that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on counties. A new study is finally giving us specific data on the fiscal effects of COVID-19 on local governments. Researchers from U.C. Davis, the University of Southern California, and Occidental College surveyed local governments from October through December of last year, with dramatic results. Of those surveyed, 40 percent said that they might not, or will not, be able to balance their budgets this year, and more than 60 percent said that they have reduced services or deferred capital expenditures or maintenance.

Lost revenue paired with an increased need for services has left counties in a fiscal lurch, and in urgent need of state and federal assistance. As we continue to advocate for counties in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., this data will go a long way toward supporting our calls for greater funding for county services when they are needed most.

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