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Midwest governors say they're planning to re-open the economy

The Brillion News

LANSING, Mich. -- The governors of seven Midwest states announced on Thursday, April 16, that they are working in close coordination to reopen the economy in the region.

The governors are Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Tim Walz of Minnesota, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Eric Holcomb of Indiana and Andy Beshear of Kentucky.

All are Democrats, except for DeWine and Holcomb, who are Republicans.

They issued a joint statement.

"We are doing everything we can to protect the people of our states and slow the spread of COVID-19, and we are eager to work together to mitigate the economic crisis this virus has caused in our region. Here in the Midwest, we are bound by our commitment to our people and the community. We recognize that our economies are all reliant on each other, and we must work together to safely reopen them so hardworking people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet."

The governors said worker health would be the top priority as a plan is developed.

“We look forward to working with experts and taking a fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protect families from the spread of COVID-19. “Our number one priority when analyzing when best to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens. We will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education."

The statement said there would be four factors used to determine when to reopen the economy. They are:

• Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.

• Enhanced ability to test and trace.

• Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence.

• Best practices for social distancing in the workplace.

“Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region. This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”

In addition to the joint statement, governors Evers, Whitmer and Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf - all Democrats - wrote a letter to President Donald Trump, asking for more federal money.

In the letter, Wisconsin's plea predicts a $2 billion loss in state tax revenues due to the pandemic. It said:

"Wisconsin is already experiencing major job losses in the wake of COVID-19, with the unemployment rate estimated at roughly 15 percent of the state’s workforce as of today. Our initial estimates indicate that state revenue losses are likely to exceed $2 billion over the next year, and this significant revenue shortfall will damage the state’s ability to respond to the economic crisis faced by our workers and businesses."


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