Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney sent a letter to 1968 Wharton graduate and President Donald Trump on Friday, urging him to provide additional funding to Philadelphia and other large American cities to avoid major budget cuts and layoffs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenney wrote that the city is incurring “extraordinary expenditures” while also facing significant declines in tax revenue as businesses remain closed during Philadelphia’s stay-at-home order. Kenney said if Philadelphia is not provided aid, the results will be severe.
“Without this assistance, cities like Philadelphia will be forced to take drastic steps to balance their budgets, including massive layoffs and drastic cuts to vital services, which will deprive residents of the services they need, exacerbate the damage being done to local economies, and lessen the possibility of a speedy economic recovery," Kenney wrote.
Kenney sent a similar letter to House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on April 10, thanking Congress for their response to the pandemic while also outlining the specific areas of need that remained even after the original congressional support.
Kenney’s pleas to the federal government come as congressional leaders work with the White House to finalize a fourth COVID-19 relief package. A $484 billion package was passed on Tuesday to provide relief for small businesses and boost spending for testing sites and hospitals.
Philadelphia County reported 475 new confirmed cases and 24 deaths on Tuesday afternoon, raising the count to 10,028 cases and 394 deaths, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Kenney has been critical of how Trump has handled the pandemic. Last month, he called Trump's reluctance to support stay-at-home orders "unacceptable."
“The health of our people and our economies are dependent on your actions in the coming days and weeks,” Kenney wrote in the letter. “I ask that you act decisively and expeditiously during this unprecedented time for our nation.”
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