Federal coronavirus relief fund payments made to Washington governments; prospects uncertain for next relief package

By: Emily Makings
9:49 am
May 14, 2020

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has made the payments to states and certain local governments required by the CARES Act’s coronavirus relief fund. The $2.953 billion paid to governments in Washington must be used for new spending related to COVID-19 response. It cannot be used to cover revenue shortfalls.

The federal government made direct payments to our state government and to King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane counties and the city of Seattle. The table below shows the exact dollar amounts of the payments. Additionally, as I wrote last week, the state will distribute $296.6 million of its $2.167 billion allocation to the other cities and counties in the state that did not receive direct payments from the federal government.

As Opportunity Washington notes, U.S. House Democrats proposed a new $3 trillion aid package earlier this week. Its prospects are uncertain at this point. As proposed, it includes more flexible funds for state and local governments that could be used for revenue shortfalls.

The distribution methodology is complicated (some amounts would be distributed by population, some by unemployment levels, some by COVID-19 cases), but Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation estimates that Washington’s state and local governments could potentially see about $20 billion based on current economic and health conditions.

But as the state and local governments begin to address revenue shortfalls, they should certainly not count on this level of federal funding. The bill has not been passed by the House yet, and the Senate is not likely to accept it in its current form.

Categories: Budget.
Tags: CARES Act , COVID-19