The Case for State Borrowing as a Response to the Current Crisis

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The coronavirus pandemic is a national emergency that requires a national response. Asking states to absorb the budgetary losses caused by the pandemic while they are tasked with providing essential frontline services is comparable to asking states during World War II to pay for the landing in Normandy.

This article is a contribution to Project SAFE: State Action in Fiscal Emergencies. We have already argued, more than once, that the federal government should borrow to prevent steep state and local budget cuts. But because the federal government will apparently not take sufficient action, we offer these ideas to states for how to proceed with borrowing absent sufficient federal aid.