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Assembly Panel Clears Speight Bill to Help Local Governments and School Districts Cover Costs of COVID-19 Crisis

With the goal of giving local governments and school districts greater financial flexibility, the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a bill on Monday to authorize certain borrowing in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and economic crisis.

Provisions of the bill (A-4127) would specifically authorize local units as well as school districts to issue refunding bonds to repay a Federal Emergency Management Agency Community Disaster Loan. The measure would also allow a municipality or county to issue special emergency notes to appropriate funds, and a local authority to borrow funds to cover COVID-19 response and recovery costs.

Sponsor of the bill Assemblywoman Shanique Speight (D-Essex) issued the following statement:

“Local leaders are a critical part of our coronavirus response. They are making tough decisions every day to protect the health, safety and economic well-being of their communities, and while doing that are confronting significant budget shortfalls.

“Giving local authorities and school districts flexibility in borrowing would widen sources of public funding. Equipping them to manage the fiscal fallout of the current public health crisis in this way will also be crucial as we navigate revenue challenges during recovery.”