Bay Area Public Services in the Era of COVID-19

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The full economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on municipalities in the Bay Area is still unknown but could be significant, depending on the impacts of both the public health and economic crises. Decisions made today will determine both the depth and the length of these crises, including decisions made by local, county and state elected officials. While the economic shock looks less like the 2008 financial crisis and much closer to the impact of a natural disaster, it is vital we learn after the lessons of the last economic crisis to ensure a swifter economic recovery.

  • Local Public Services have still not recovered from 2008 Austerity Measures
  • Public Sector Cuts Arguably Prolonged the 2008 Recession
  • Austerity Cuts Following 2008 Recession Led to Persistent Recruitment and Retention Problem
  • 2008 Austerity was Not Offset by New Revenues, but Reduced Service Delivery still Generated Robust Reserves that Can Minimize need for Near Term Cuts in the Era of COVID-19
  • Equitable Tax Measures can help Local Governments Build Resilience into their Financial Models

Ultimately, Bay Area governments are better positioned to protect existing levels of public service and employment during COVID 19 than in past recessions, and forthcoming revenue measures could enable them to contain the fiscal fallout from COVID-19, meet the near-term public service needs tied to the pandemic, and help to expedite California’s recovery.

 

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