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California, plus 4 other Western states, asking feds for $1 trillion in aid

Posted at 2:24 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 22:20:34-04

Five Western states, including California, are asking the federal government for $1 trillion in relief for states and local governments amid the coronavirus pandemic and massive budget shortfalls that have followed.

In addition to California, the Western states in the pact asking for aid include Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

In California, the state had a projected $6 billion surplus a few months ago. Last week, it was announced that the state will have a budget shortfall of $54.3 billion.

"We now are struggling with tens of billions of dollars in budget deficits, directly as an impact, directly caused because of the impact of this disease, COVID-19," Gov. Gavin Newsom said during his daily briefing. "These budgetary shortfalls are so much bigger than any state, any city, any county. But they directly impact public safety, our firefighters, our police officers, our first responders. They directly impact public education and our teachers. They directly impact public health and our counties to support their public health systems."

State funding accounts for 80% of most school district budgets, which are mostly spent on teacher and staff salaries, said Troy Flint, spokesman for the California Association of School Boards.

An estimated 4.5 million Californians have filed for unemployment assistance since March 12, according to Newsom.

Associated Press and NBC affiliate KCRA reporting contributed to this report.