Metro Denver Losing Money Amid Coronavirus Outbreak: See How Much

DENVER, CO — With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to loom, cities in Denver’s metro area are in for significant revenue declines in 2021, according to a research paper by three university professors.

Metro Denver is expected to see a revenue loss from between 5 percent to 10 percent in 2021, the study by Howard Chernick from the City University of New York, David Copeland from Georgia State University and Andrew Reschovky from the University of Wisconsin shows.

Chernick said the recession resulting from the pandemic will be “sharper” than the one that began in 2008, which he described to The New York Times as “a story of long, drawn-out fiscal pain.”

The study, “The Fiscal Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cities: An Initial Assessment,” is slated to appear in the next edition of the National Tax Journal and not yet available online publicly yet. Patch has reached out to professors involved in the study.

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Four of the five cities expected to be the hardest hit among the 150 looked at in the project are in New York. Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse are all expected to see a decline of more than 15 percent of their revenue from the previous year. New York City stands to see a decline of about 10 percent, the study found.

State cuts to municipalities made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo could be a major reason why cities in upstate New York are suffering the most. In June, the state began to withhold 20 percent of state payment owed to a number of cities, including Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse.

In hardest hit Rochester, the city has already delayed the next class of police recruits and canceled the next class of firefighters due to the pandemic, the Times reports.

Detroit, which relies heavily on casino revenue, shows the fourth highest projected shortfall while New York City is fifth on this chart compiled by the New York Times. Officials in Detroit had to close its recreation centers and mow the grass less often on vacant properties they own to save money, according to the Times report.

Even in places lower on the list, like San Francisco, this projected shortfall has already led to various cuts. Bay Area Rapid Transit approved a budget this summer that’s some $200 million less than a preliminary budget the transit service had in place before the pandemic began.

Texas cities appear to be in less bad shape. Fort Worth, San Antonio, El Paso, Houston, Dallas and Austin are all expected to experience a revenue decline of less than 8 percent.

As are places that rely heavily on property taxes like Boston, which the report shows is only expected to see a 2 percent decline in revenue.

Cities that rely heavily on sales tax revenue, like Colorado Springs, first saw a huge dip in funds early during the pandemic but have rebounded as businesses have reopened during the summer months.

This article originally appeared on the Denver Patch

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