Budget Crisis Impacting States Amid COVID-19

September marks the sixth month since coronavirus took hold in the Northeast region. In early March when we first reported on this, there were six reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Northeast states (one each in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and two each in New York and Rhode Island). Cases began to rise rapidly throughout the region, but as a result of quick action by the governors, seemingly daily stats began to show signs of improvement during the summer months. Half-a-year of quick shutdowns and slow reopening’s, so much uncertainty and difficult decisions were made along the way. After all the death and suffering, the Northeast now has some of the lowest infection rates in the country, but state and local leaders are bracing for another surge as we head into the fall.

Now, while some schools, colleges and universities attempt to return to in-person classes, there are reportedly new hot spots beginning to reemerge, forcing some localities to delay opening or resuming distance learning.

Here is a quick snapshot of opening phases in each of the Northeast states:

State Status Positivity Rate*
Connecticut Phase 2


Maine Phase 3


Massachusetts Phase 3


New Hampshire Phase 2


New York Phase 4


Rhode Island Phase 3


Vermont No defined phase


*as of 9/21/2020 (source for positivity rate is https://covidactnow.org

Meanwhile states continue grappling with lost revenue from tax collections as a result of job losses, and people are spending less due to less economic activity around COVID and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Some states have delayed adopting a budget for FY2021 which started in July. Federal aid is needed to offset or reverse deep public sector job cuts. It remains unclear what – if any aid Congress will offer in any potential future economic stimulus package.

See more on the latest for each of the state’s responses to COVID-19 below:

Connecticut COVID-19 Response
Governor Ned Lamont called on agencies to identify at least ten percent in cuts in the next biennial budget.
A comparison of the most-currently-revised estimates to the budget enacted and/or revised by the legislature

Governor Mills COVID-19 Response
Governor Mills Signs Curtailment Order to Maintain Budget Stability Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission (CEFC), an independent group of economists who forecast Maine’s economy

Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Massachusetts
Lawmakers optimistic about budget projections for FY2021 (WWLP)
Administration & Finance develops and executes cost-effective public policy initiatives and services that ensure the financial stability, efficiency, and effectiveness of state and local government

New Hampshire
Learn more about COVID-19 in New Hampshire
New Hampshire Governor Say’s COVID-19’s Effect On Budget Is ‘Devastating’  (NHPR)
The Budget office provides fiscal, budget and administrative oversight to all State Agencies

New York
What you need to know about COVID-19 in New York
New York State Has Dug Itself Into Its Deepest Hole On Record (Empire Center)
New York State Division of the Budget Announces Release of the FY 2021 Enacted State Budget Financial Plan

Rhode Island
Rhode Island Information on COVID-19
Cutting the state budget will hurt the economy, delay recovery says Economic Progress Institute (UPRISE RI)
The Fiscal Year 2021 budget continues critical investments

Stay informed about COVID-19 in Vermont
State faces revenue shortfalls as budget process resumes (Brattleboro Reformer)
Governor Scott signs partial Vermont budget bill and $600M COVID-19 relief package (Valley News)

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