September 28, 2020
The state of Washington has now allocated $1.495 billion of the $2.167 billion it received from the federal coronavirus relief fund (part of the CARES Act). Since my last post on the state’s allocations of this funding, the state has distributed additional funds to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and the Employment Security Department (ESD).
To DCYF, the state allocated $78.1 million for child care-related items, including Working Connections Child Care family co-pay assistance, emergency school-age child care for essential workers, and grants to help child care providers stay open.
To ESD, the state allocated $2.8 million for the state’s share of administrative expenses associated with the Lost Wages Assistance program. (This is a federal program that adds an extra $300 per week to unemployment insurance benefits.)
With these allocations, the state has $671.9 million left.
One possible way to use some of these funds would be to help replenish the state unemployment insurance trust fund. Treasury’s guidance on use of the funds allows for this (see item 9 on page 3): “This will permit States to use Fund payments to prevent expenses related to the public health emergency from causing their state unemployment insurance funds to become insolvent.”
However, as Jim Camden reports in the Spokesman-Review, earlier this month Gov. Inslee said he
“hadn’t thought seriously about” putting CARES money into the trust fund, but doubted it would be used for that purpose. . . .
“We have so many other claims on the CARES funding, from homelessness, to provide mental health services for people, to help small businesses stay open,” he said. “So I doubt that would be an appropriate use or a necessary use of those funds at the moment.”
Tags: CARES Act , COVID-19 , state action on COVID-19