The states cried that the COVID pandemic was draining their budgets and they needed “emergency” funds to get by. But now we find that very little of this money was ever spent on anything at all.
So… if the states never even spent any of this vital, “emergency funding”… how was it such an emergency?
In March, Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. Some of the cash was supposed to go taxpayers, businesses, and others impacted by the draconian shutdowns imposed on America and blamed on the pandemic. But $350 million of that cash was doled out to the states because the governors whined that their budgets were bleeding out because of their own local pandemic spending. It was an emergency, dontcha know?
Republicans objected at the time because many of the deepest blue states — such as Illinois — only wanted the money to bail them out of fruitless spending deficits they incurred long before COVID came around.
Now, it looks like the Republicans were right. According to research by the Associated Press, little of that “emergency” money has been spent by any of the states that received it.
Per the AP:
As of this summer, a majority of large cities and states hadn’t spent a penny from the American Rescue Plan championed by Democrats and President Joe Biden, according to an Associated Press review of the first financial reports due under the law. States had spent just 2.5% of their initial allotment while large cities spent 8.5%, according to the AP analysis.Advertisement - story continues below
Many state and local governments reported they were still working on plans for their share of the $350 billion, which can be spent on a wide array of programs.
Though Biden signed the law in March, the Treasury Department didn’t release the money and spending guidelines until May. By then, some state legislatures already had wrapped up their budget work for the next year, leaving governors with no authority to spend the new money. Some states waited several more months to ask the federal government for their share.
The Wall Street Journal added that almost a trillion dollars was never spent from the “emergency” CARES Act:
The biggest cache is grants to states, cities and territories, of which $210 billion remains unspent. That’s no surprise given the $500 billion showered on states and cities between the March 2020 Cares Act and President Biden’s follow-up in March 2021.
The bailout came despite a mere 0.2% drop in state revenue from 2019 to 2020, according to the Tax Foundation. Few strings are attached to the funds so state and local lawmakers are taking their time. New York, California and others have passed record budgets while tapping only a portion of their federal aid.
Again… how were the state in an “emergency” situation in March?
This “emergency relief” spending was just a giant boondoggle and waste of taxpayer dollars.
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