Georgia is still deciding how to divide more than $8.1 billion from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March.
Applications for more than $4.8 billion in funding opens up Sunday. State government entities, local governments, businesses and nonprofits have 30 days to apply for the aid.
The aid will be issued in two installments and cover expenses from March to the end of 2026, but the state has until December 31, 2024, to allocate all of the funds.
President Joe Biden’s administration announced that it would give $3 billion in coronavirus stimulus funds to approved local communities across the country.
The program dubbed “Investing in America’s Communities” amounts to the largest initiative of its kind in decades, according to the Department of Commerce. Local governments and organizations nationwide impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are able to apply to receive the federal funds.
Leaders in the metro Atlanta area said they plan to use American Rescue Plan funding to address public safety issues.
Officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties and the city of Atlanta have announced plans to use a portion of the federal aid to increase public safety or address criminal justice backlogs.
According to several reports, Atlanta and adjacent cities have seen a spike in crime over the past year. State lawmakers have launched a study to look at ways to curb the issue. Gov. Brian Kemp directed $5 million last month from his emergency fund to address the crisis.
Instead of a predicted deficit, Georgia’s total revenue increased by $2.5 billion, according to a statement released by Governor Brian Kemp’s office.
Many state elected officials predicted significant budget shortfalls due to a partially-closed economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
“Year-to-date, net tax collections totaled $21.74 billion for an increase of nearly $2.51 billion, or 13.1 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year when net tax revenues totaled $19.23 billion after ten months,” the statement read.
Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) officials want public feedback as they plan how to spend taxpayer money they received through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which is the federal government’s third COVID-19 relief bill. This, according to a press release that GaDOE officials emailed this week.
Thirteen states sued President Joe Biden’s administration over an American Rescue Plan provision prohibiting states from cutting taxes after accepting coronavirus relief funds.
The 13-state coalition argued that the provision included in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package preventing states from cutting taxes if they accept relief from the federal government is unconstitutional. The coalition, led by Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
“Never before has the federal government attempted such a complete takeover of state finances,” Morrisey said in a Wednesday statement. “We cannot stand for such overreach.”