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Poll: Most Americans Support Stimulus for States, Cities and Towns

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By AFSCME Staff ·

American voters overwhelmingly support significant levels of funding for states, cities and towns to counter the devastating effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the economy and vital public services, according to a new poll commissioned by AFSCME and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

No fewer than 84% of voters favor a $1 trillion federal aid package for states, cities and towns, a similar amount as in the HEROES Act, introduced this week by the House of Representatives. The bill, on which a vote is expected Friday, seeks to help states, cities and towns replace lost revenue from the economic shutdown and maintain public services such as health care, law enforcement and education.

The poll of 1,008 likely voters, conducted May 4-7, shows that federal support for state and local services is a top voter priority, with strong majorities backing funding for hospitals, testing and tracing, schools, local public services and police.

“There is nothing partisan about wanting your children’s school to be well-staffed, or the garbage to be picked up at your home or business,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “Democrats, Republicans and independents alike want clean water to come out of the tap. People need the ambulance to show up on time whether they live in red, blue or purple states.”

The poll revealed voters are united in their priorities. By a 3-to-1 margin, they say funding for education, health care and other public services is more important than keeping down government spending and debt, and they are far more concerned that the government won’t spend enough to support the economy than spend too much.

By contrast, voters disagree with Republicans in Congress who prioritize payroll tax cuts and employer immunity for lawsuits. They also unequivocally reject the state bankruptcy alternative proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The poll results leave no doubt that decisions currently being made by lawmakers in Congress and the president will reverberate through Election Day, as voters are 45 percentage points more likely to support (54%) than oppose (9%) candidates who support federal aid.

“If Congress does not act immediately to help our states, cities and towns, these vital services will continue to be threatened, and the everyday heroes who deliver them will be given pink slips,” Saunders warned. “We can beat this pandemic and open the economy if we keep public services strong and public service workers on the job.”

Read the full poll results here.

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