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Wisconsin Spotlight  | Dec. 21, 2020

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers now says he expects to have nearly all of the $2 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding spent or obligated by Dec. 30, the deadline for acting. 

But the governor still has not separated expenditures from obligated funds in the administration’s latest breakdown of allocations, so it remains unclear where things ultimately stand. 

Those kinds of details have been an ongoing problem for the administration since the coronavirus relief money was allotted to the state, according to fiscal trackers. 

In a memorandum to the Legislature, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau notes Evers’ announcement last week that only $900,000 remains “unallocated at this time.” 

Money received from the CARES Act fund must be used for expenses incurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Money received from the CRF that is not used by December 30, 2020, must be returned to the (U.S)Treasury,’ the memo notes. 

“In regards to the December 30, 2020 deadline for the use of the funds, Treasury has clarified that funds that have been either expended or obligated are not required to be returned to the Treasury. Treasury defines an ‘obligation’ as ‘a commitment to pay a third party with CRF proceeds based on a contract, grant, loan, or other arrangement.’”

LFB has yet to receive a breakdown of what the administration has spent and what funds it has committed, according to the agency. The most recent report on Dec. 4 showed the executive branch had expended $949.1 million, and had obligated $414.3 million. 

Here’s where the money is going, according to the memo.

$1.076 billion for healthcare and related costs, including: 

— $468 million for testing 

— $165 million in medical equipment acquisition 

— $100 million in health provider assistance 

— $82 million for reserves and COVID-19 surge funding

— $75 million for contact tracing efforts 

— $60 million for long-term care direct payment program

— $44 million in direct payments to hospitals 

$547 million in economic relief allocations. The big-ticket funding programs include:

— $242 million in grants for small businesses 

— $80 million for supplemental child care grants

— $75 million in agricultural aid 

— $32 million for the state’s rental assistance program

— $26 million for low-income home energy assistance 

— $20 million, lodging industry grants 

The music venue business got $16.5 million in grants, while the arts received a $15 million bailout. And the Ethanol industry got a cut, too, to the tune of $3.3 million. 

$374.6 for local government and education support, including: 

— $190 million in local government aid grants 

— $130 million in agency reimbursements  

— $37 million for higher education 

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