August 4, 2020

Indiana Still Hasn't Spent Most Of Its Federal CARES Act Money

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Office of Management and Budget Director Cris Johnston updates the State Budget Committee on federal CARES Act spending.  - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Office of Management and Budget Director Cris Johnston updates the State Budget Committee on federal CARES Act spending.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana says it has spent – or committed to spending – less than $1 billion in federal CARES Act money out of the $2.4 billion it’s received.

Office of Management and Budget Director Cris Johnston said one reason so much CARES Act money is unspent is inconsistent messages from the federal government.

“We didn’t want to make a big transfer before the end of our fiscal year and then have differing guidance come out from the federal government that said, ‘No, you can’t use the money this way,’” Johnston said.

Johnston said the state has also tried to spend some of the money on, for instance, testing supplies – but those dollars have gone unused amid nationwide shortages.

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The state is also holding back in the hopes the federal government will allow Indiana to use CARES dollars to fill massive holes in its budget.

But state Democratic legislators argue the state should spend more money now on relief programs for struggling Hoosiers, particularly as extra federal unemployment benefits expire.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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