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Wolf backs states’ call for $500B in additional federal aid

The Associated Press
Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania speaks at a new conference at Pennsylvania Emergency Management Headquarters where he said he was ordering schools and other facilities to close in a suburban Philadelphia county, Montgomery County, that has been hard-hit by the COVID-19, Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf has written to President Donald Trump to back calls from other leading governors for another $500 billion in federal aid for states fighting the spread of the coronavirus, warning that his office is projecting a budget deficit of up to $5 billion.

The letter, dated Wednesday, was issued with two other Democratic governors, Tony Evers of Wisconsin and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.

Trump won all three states narrowly in 2016, states that had long backed Democrats in presidential contests.

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In the letter, they acknowledge that the federal government is making an initial $71 billion available to meet some immediate cash flow needs of state and local governments.

But, they write, “the magnitude of the crushing economic impact this virus has had on our states and residents cannot be overstated.”

In Pennsylvania, Wolf said the projected deficit ranging between $4.5 billion and $5 billion will make it incredibly difficult to focus the state’s efforts on supporting workers and businesses as it attempts to rebuild its economy.

Over the weekend, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York issued a call for the additional $500 billion. Hogan is chairman of the National Governors Association and Cuomo is the vice chair.