NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - As the economy bounces back from the pandemic, state leaders are trying to figure out what to do with the federal funds passed by congress.
It’s what an accountability group spent Wednesday morning discussing.
In a virtual meeting, state leaders with the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group met to determine with to do with the remaining money from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan.
“Much of the use of money can be used for COVID, the impacts we felt from COVID, and how to prepare for the next pandemic,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower with the TN Comptroller of the Treasury said.
Comptroller Mumpower is a member of the accountability group.
The State is receiving $3.7 billion from the American Rescue Plan. Cities and counties across the state will share about $2.28 billion.
Davidson County is getting $134.8 million.
“When Davidson County receives its $134.8 million, they will have an opportunity to make a choice about how much of that they want to dedicate to business relief,” Mumpower said.
The State has until December to spend the remainder of the CARES Act.
As for the American Rescue Plan that was passed in Congress this year, the state has until December 2024.
“I’m working today in Tennessee. In fact, I’m going to be meeting with over 20 counties later today, to talk with them about how to manage this money when they receive it, what the permissible uses are for how they can use this money, how they can do the most good for the greatest number of people in their communities with this federal assistance,” Mumpower said.
State Senator Heidi Campbell says one thing the group’s not talking about is helping the unemployed.
“In Governor Lee’s mind, 300 dollars a week for a parent who lost their job is bad...but millions worth of federal assistance for business owners is good. And I think that is an immoral double standard,” Sen. Campbell said.
Sen. Campbell says the accountability group should really consider having funds available to those who lost their jobs, especially if they’re having a hard time finding work in their field.
“Nobody’s arguing that these business owners are unworthy of assistance, it’s just like nobody should be arguing that people who lost their job through no fault of their own are unworthy of support,” Sen. Campbell said.
“Well, let me say that I know for sure that there are jobs available in every county in Tennessee today. Every county in Tennessee today has a higher number of jobs available than the unemployment rate. However, let me add as well, that one permissible use of the American Rescue Plan funds is going to be coming to communities to make grants to households,” Mumpower said.
“We find that a lot of those jobs are not in areas where we have people who are available for them. And also I think a lot of those jobs don’t pay well and are not jobs that will inevitably help people," Senator Campbell said
Mumpower says this is a long-term project. The money is just starting to come down from the American Rescue Plan. He also said the money could be used for public health, and for local governments to expand their water, sewer, and broadband as well.