For Immediate Release: March 25, 2020
Contact: Traci Gleason
The Crisis We Face: How Missouri Can Respond to the Economic Impacts of COVID-19
New MBP Report Illustrates State Actions to Cushion the Blow for Families, Mitigate Economic Recovery
It is critical for Missouri to act in tandem with federal government responses to the Coronavirus pandemic in order to cushion the blow for families trying to make ends meet. A new Missouri Budget Project report details how our state can help families withstand the anticipated economic downturn, minimizing longer-term economic damage and mitigating the state’s economic recovery.
“The choices our elected officials make now can help Missourians weather the Coronavirus outbreak and set the course for the recovery of our communities and economy,” said Amy Blouin, President and CEO of Missouri Budget Project.
Increased unemployment and economic declines resulting from the pandemic will likely cause steep reductions in general revenue. These reductions in the funding Missouri relies on to carry out critical public services will come at the same time as more Missourians struggle to make ends meet and need safety net services.
“Many Missourians face layoffs, reduced hours, sickness, or caregiving needs,” continued Blouin. “By acting now to reduce the hardship faced by families, our state can mitigate the longer term consequences our communities would face.”
While Congress has passed and continues to consider federal responses to the pandemic, Missouri must act to ensure residents can qualify for enhanced federal programs, like support for Medicaid and extensions to unemployment. But Missouri can also act to streamline applications and eligibility for nutrition assistance, Medicaid health coverage, and other supports that help families make ends meet.
“Consumer demand dries up when families can’t pay their bills,” said Blouin. “Policymakers recognize this and can choose to shore up our budget structure to help families weather this storm.”
In its report, Missouri Budget Project outlines ways to stabilize the state budget, improve Medicaid health coverage and the public health infrastructure, enhance nutrition assistance and economic support, and ensure Missourians can fully access federally approved policy changes like extended unemployment.
“This health crisis is like nothing most Missourians have ever experienced,” said Blouin. “Missourians are rising to the uncertainty and challenges of this time, and our state must do the same.”
The Missouri Budget Project is a nonprofit public policy analysis organization that analyzes state budget, tax, and economic issues.