Western States Pact jointly request $1 trillion from federal government, Gov. Gavin Newsom announces

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Western States Pact is turning to the federal government for financial help, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference Monday.

WATCH LIVE NOW: Newsom releases guidelines to reopen dine-in restaurants, malls, offices in California

The leaders of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado have signed a joint letter requesting $1 trillion in "direct and flexible relief to states and local governments."

"This is the requirement of this moment," Newsom said. After years of surplus, the state is facing a multi-billion dollar budget deficit. "That gives you a sense of the thrust of the need that we are all feeling as states, as regions, as cities."

Newsom said he anticipates California's unemployment rate to climb up to 25% as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the economy.

The letter is addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).


Newsom's remarks come after a weekend where much of the state moved into Stage 2 of reopening businesses and manufacturing.

"Roughly 70% of the economy in the state of California can open with modifications into this next phase," said Newsom Friday. "I know 70% is not 100%, and I recognize that 'with modifications' means 'with restrictions' and 'with restrictions' means a struggle for businesses to get back where they were pre-pandemic."

ALSO: Confusion over California's unemployment debit cards causes frustration, stress for jobless amid pandemic

He encouraged Californians to shop local as much as possible.

"Look out for your neighborhood florist. Look out for your neighborhood business. They need your support and they haven't gotten the kind of support they deserve. You will be determinative of whether or not they survive," he said. "So if it means you gotta go an extra block or two, seek them out, find them, make some calls ... don't just go to that big box retailer. They've had a little advantage on things like this and it's time to re-balance things."

On Tuesday, the governor is expected to announce guidelines for even more businesses to reopen, like dine-in restaurants, office buildings and shopping malls.

We'll be streaming the press conference live on abc7news.com, Facebook and YouTube.

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