The US’s 3,000 counties expect this year’s coronavirus pandemic to hit their budgets to the tune of $202 billion, meaning cuts in services, jobs and infrastructure projects, according to a survey published Tuesday.
Already, 71% of counties have cut or delayed capital investments such as infrastructure and economic development projects, the US' National Association of Counties (NACo) said in its report. And 68% reported they have cut services such as public safety and health services.
“Counties anticipate (a) $202 billion impact to budgets through FY2021, with widespread economic consequences,” the report reads.
“Alongside $30 billion of additional expenditures and $114 billion of lost county-generated revenue, NACo forecasts a $58 billion cut in state funding for counties as states collectively anticipate a $555 billion budget shortfall,” it adds.
The group said counties employ 328,000 hospital workers, 374,000 law enforcement officers, 93,000 firefighting staff and 200,000 public health workers. Jails, airports, 911 call centers, child and domestic protective services and services for the elderly could all be impacted.