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Dire Budget Picture Without Heroes Act, Says Olszewski

John Lee


It’s been more than 3 months since the House of Representative passed the $3 trillion COVID relief plan called the Heroes Act. It remains stalled in the Senate.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said there are dire budget consequences ahead for the county if the money from the Heroes Act doesn’t come through.

About $1 trillion of the act is for state and local governments that have been hammered by sharply reduced tax revenues and increased spending related to COVID-19.

So far, Baltimore County has been able to avoid laying anyone off, thanks to the $140 million it got from the CARES Act earlier this year.

“Without those dollars, we would be really hamstrung,” Olszewski said.

Olszewski said the stakes are real if there is no second infusion of cash.

“We’re going to have to have more difficult choices about how we balance the budget because we are obligated to have a balanced budget,” Olszewski said.

Olszewski made the comments during a county webinar about COVID-19’s economic effects on governments and non-profit organizations.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin also participated in the webinar. Cardin said government budgets have been decimated.

“In Baltimore County, look what’s happened to the income tax revenues with so many people unemployed,” Cardin said. “What’s happened at the state level with the sales tax revenues with people staying at home.”

Senate Republicans say the Heroes Act price tag is too high, and say it’s a bailout for state and local governments that have mismanaged tax money.

The Senate returns to session September 8.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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