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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


What the government is doing about COVID-19

Rebecca Noble

Tucson City Hall at 255 W. Alameda St. Tucsonans will elect three of six city council seats and decide the fate of four propositions this Nov. 7.  

As the COVID-19 prevention methods grind the economy to a dramatic halt, federal, state and local government are attempting to find ways to mitigate the consequences. Here is a run-down of proposals at each level, as of March 20. 

Senate GOP Plan

  • The plan would give $1,200 cash payments to Americans, plus $500 for every child. Crucially, however, adults with no tax liability or qualifying income would receive nothing. For this reason, the plan has drawn intense criticism from labor leaders and economists. 
  • The plan would also include cash for airlines ($50 billion), air cargo carriers ($8 billion) and other distressed businesses ($150 billion). 

U.S. House Financial Services Committee Plan

  • $2,000 cash payments for every American, plus $1,000 for each child for each month of the crisis. This is not means-tested and universal and would continue for each month of the crisis. 
  • Prohibit debt collection, wage garnishment and repossession.
  • Suspend all payments on mortgages, car notes, student loans, credit cards, small business loans, personal loans, etc.
  • Forgive a minimum of $10,000 of student loan debt for each indebted borrower.   

State Plan

  • Enacted SB 1051: This Bill was enacted after Gov. Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency and will send $55 million from the budget stabilization fund to the public health emergencies fund. It’s meant to pay for emergency health responses during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Ducey issued an Executive Order that delayed expiration dates for Arizona driver licenses. The goal, Ducey said, is to make sure that Arizona residents over the age of 65 will not be forced to go to the Motor Vehicle Division during the pandemic.
  • Deployed the Arizona National Guard to grocery stores and food banks to help them keep their shelves stocked during this time of high demand.

Local Plan

  • City councilman Paul Cunningham urged the rest of council to send a letter to the justice court to suspend all eviction hearings.
  • All 10 Pima County constables have refused to serve evictions during the pandemic, citing health risks for the tenants as well as themselves. In a Facebook post, constable Joe Ferguson wrote, “The Constables here in Pima County are hoping that the Arizona Supreme Court acts quickly to shut down evictions in light of this public health emergency.” 
  • In an interview with Ferguson, he noted that the need to protect themselves and the most vulnerable during this pandemic made this a bipartisan effort. He said he has received positive support from other parts of the government and he is advocating for an “eviction grant” that would allow money to flow again to landlords. 
  • Ferguson also said that there have been legal threats from landlords. He said if it comes to that, “he will see them in court.” 
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