Clackamas County’s policy positions and funding priorities relating to the COVID-19 pandemic will be guided by the following legislative principles. Support in these areas from the state and federal government will enable the county and its residents to more effectively respond to, reopen, and recover from the Novel Coronavirus.
Predictable and Supplemental Revenue for County Operations
The county supports legislation that provides essential service dollars to local governments where state and federal partnerships exist and limits liability to public services related to the pandemic. Successful legislation should maintain existing funding levels, and will also provide direct and flexible funding to local governments in the wake of anticipated revenue loss caused by the pandemic. Legislation also should make local governments eligible for payroll tax credits for employee’s emergency paid leave, and honor the up to 75% reimbursement by FEMA for local dollars spent under emergency declarations.
Equity and Inclusion
The county supports legislation that prioritizes response, reopening, and recovery investments for those most impacted by the pandemic, including historically marginalized communities, communities of color, and poverty-stricken individuals and families. Successful legislation will offer dedicated relief for households, communities, and local businesses with diverse or marginalized representation.
Housing and Social Services Delivery
The county supports legislation that helps people who are homeless or in need of housing services, including residential needs for mental health patients and justice involved youth. Successful legislation will provide funding for additional shelter beds, increase vouchers for housing, and fund additional capacity for local governments and non-profit agencies to provide supportive housing services. Successful legislation will also increase funding for behavioral health programs to expand crisis services once social distancing measures are lifted and ease barriers of entry for mental health professionals to more readily serve communities.
Public Health and Safety
The county supports legislation that provides adequate funding and supplies for public health and safety professionals responding to the pandemic. Successful legislation will support testing and contact tracing programs, ensure local agencies have adequate supply of personal protective equipment and space to provide critical services, and reinforce safe community practices such as social distancing to help flatten the curve. Successful legislation will also meet public safety needs that are amplified by the pandemic, including resources to respond to domestic and family violence.
The county supports legislation that enables a return to a healthy and vibrant economy during and after the pandemic. Successful legislation will support individuals suffering from job loss, relieve renters of rent obligations accrued during the pandemic, promote retention of local ownership of rental properties, support independent contractors and self-employed individuals, help small businesses rehire and reopen, and ensure access to construction loans to public agencies. Successful legislation also should stimulate job creation by funding shovel-ready public infrastructure projects including but not limited to transportation, public housing, broadband, wastewater, surface water, and brownfield remediation, with an emphasis on carbon neutrality.