Latest on ARPA in Rhode Island
This month has seen a lot of activity around the funds available to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The RI Foundation released the Make It Happen Report making recommendations for spending the $1.1B in ARPA Fiscal Recovery Funds (FRF) appropriated to the state. The Governor proposed a supplemental SFY 2022 budget, including the appropriation of 10% of these funds for consideration by the General Assembly. The House and Senate Finance Committees are holding hearings at which the public can provide written or oral testimony.
The General Assembly has created a section on its website where the public can provide recommendations for how the FRF should be used and see what recommendations others are making.
The Governor released his “RI 2030” plan setting out a vision for RI’s economic recovery over the next ten years which outlines how the state’s FRF funds could be used. The public can comment on the plan at hearings or in writing. Visit ri2030.com to learn more.
While the state Fiscal Recovery Funds need to be appropriated through the state budget process, other ARPA dollars provided directly to state agencies can be and have been spent without prior appropriation through the budget process.
EPI has written an ARPA in RI Update that pulls together some of this information.
The Providence Journal has a good breakdown of how local cities and towns are spending COVID-relief money.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, signed into law by President Biden in March, will direct close to $4 billion in assistance to Rhode Island and Rhode Islanders over the next few years. The funds, designed to provide for both short-term relief and investments in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, fall into the following three buckets:
- $1.78 billion in state aid ($1.24 billion) and local aid ($542 million) from the U. S. Treasury Department.
- $900+ million in aid from various federal departments for targeted investments including: K-12 education ($415M); Higher Education ($180M); Child Care ($93M); Housing ($225M, for emergency rental and homeowner assistance); LIHEAP ($30M); and Pandemic Emergency Assistance Funds ($4.4M, to meet short-term needs of families with children).
- $1.22 billion in direct assistance to individuals through stimulus checks; additional assistance through child tax credits, enhanced UI benefits, and expanded earned income tax credits, as well as PPP loans for businesses and further relief for restaurants.
The state and local aid is being provided for the following purposes:
- to support the public health response to the pandemic
- to respond to the adverse economic effects of the pandemic
- to offer extra pay for essential workers
- to replace state and local revenue lost due to the pandemic
- to improve water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure
Funds can be used to address short-term needs as well as for longer-term investments.
More information from the U.S. Treasury about the state and local funds can be found here:
- S. Treasury Quick Reference Guide on State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRP-Fact-Sheet-FINAL1-508A.pdf
- S. Treasury Fact Sheet on State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRP-Quick-Reference-Guide-FINAL-508a.pdf
- Interim Final Rule in the Federal Register: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-17/pdf/2021-10283.pdf