The state of Washington has $662.4 million left from federal Coronavirus Relief Fund—here’s where the money has gone so far

By: Emily Makings
9:15 am
October 23, 2020

The federal CARES Act included the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), which distributed $2.953 billion for governments in Washington. The federal government made direct payments to the state, the city of Seattle, and King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane counties. The state government’s share was $2.167 billion. Since May, the state has been distributing the funds to various agencies and local governments. (Generally, the funds must be used for new spending related to COVID-19 response, and they must be used by Dec. 30, 2020.)

To date, the Office of Financial Management (OFM) has allocated $1.505 billion of the state’s CRF share. There is $662.4 million left.

So far in October, OFM has made the following allocations:

  • $5.0 million “to create a financial assistance program for small-scale meat processors to increase capacity and address labor shortages due to the pandemic.”
  • $4.4 million “to increase the capacity of the state’s Emergency Food Assistance Program and to purchase food, PPE and supplies for distribution to non-profit food banks and food pantries.”
  • $3.0 million for seven organizations “to serve American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) individuals living in urban areas who have been excluded from federal Coronavirus Relief Funds provided to tribal governments.”
  • $652,000 for the Office of the Attorney General to enforce the eviction moratorium.
  • $401,000 for the Washington State Equity Office’s coronavirus efforts.
  • $312,000 for Central Washington University’s “technology costs associated with shifting coursework, advising, tutoring, labs and other essential online student services.”
  • $209,713 for “the state’s share of the administrative expenses associated with the federal Lost Wages Assistance program.” (This is on top of an earlier allocation of $2.8 million for this purpose.)

In the chart below, I’ve grouped all of the state’s CRF allocations into six categories: local governments, economic support, public health expenses, child care support & child welfare, FY 2020 expenses incurred in response to the pandemic, and other. These categories are then broken down further to give more information about where the allocations are going.

These are loose categorizations, based on public information from OFM. (In some cases, OFM listed multiple purposes for an allocation. Because I don’t know how the funds were split in those cases, I’ve included them in the “other” category.)

If you click on the chart, it will take you to a spreadsheet that provides more detail on the allocations. (I’ve also added this to our COVID-19 page.) Note that the CARES Act and other federal bills include other pots of money for states in addition to the CRF—they are not included here. For a higher level look at all the federal funds related to the pandemic and recession, I recommend this tracker from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of the Treasury updated its CRF Frequently Asked Questions document this week. One notable addition is that higher education expenses incurred due to the public health emergency—including refunds to students for tuition, room and board, meal plans, and activity fees—may be eligible uses of the CRF. (See question A.57.)

Categories: Budget , Categories.
Tags: CARES Act , COVID-19 , state action on COVID-19