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Government & Politics

Only A Sliver Of Montana's Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds Used So Far

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting where half the boxes are empty
Montana Public Affairs Network
The Montana Legislative Finance Committee met via Zoom June 12, 2020.

State agencies have spent a sliver of the $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds at Montana’s disposal.

Roughly $24 million in federal CARES Act relief funds have been used. That's about 19 percent of what the governor’s office has appropriated so far. That money goes toward business stabilization grants, housing assistance, social service nonprofits and other expenditures.

Kris Wilkinson with the Legislative Fiscal Division told the Legislative Finance Committee on June 12 that most of the CARES Act spending occurred in June.

“I would let you know this is a fluid situation," Wilkinson said.

Also on Friday, Bozeman city officials sent a letter to Gov. Steve Bullock requesting additional CARES Act funding, $50 million, for child care providers.

State GOP leadership is pushing for faster distribution of federal funds to spur a quicker economy recovery. Tom Livers, budget director for the governor’s office, told the Legislative Finance Committee that more discussions are needed to navigate potential gray areas and identify what kind of spending falls under the CARES Act umbrella.

State agencies have spent an additional $18 million in non-CARES Act federal coronavirus relief funding to date.

A Legislative Fiscal Division report released Friday says Montanans have also received $252 million in federal pandemic unemployment compensation. The program, which provides $600 weekly payments, is set to expire July 31.

Kevin Trevellyan is Yellowstone Public Radio’s Report For America statehouse reporter.