(The Center Square) – Alaska is transparent when it comes to disclosing how funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act are being spent, but there are areas for improvement, according to a report.
In a nonpartisan review of states’ disclosure by the nonprofit Good Jobs First, Alaska was listed as having “some disclosure,” but fell short of the top tier for states that had “exemplary” transparency.
The nonprofit analyzed how states were tracking Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) spending and providing information to the public.
CRF relief was provided to states through the CARES Act, which was signed into law in March 2020 by President Donald Trump. The $2.2 trillion package allotted $111.8 billion for emergency assistance to state governments and the District of Columbia.
The report analyzed whether states adequately were reporting their spending to taxpayers and found only six met that expectation.
”Fortunately, most states recognize the importance of disclosure for their residents and have used the information from their quarterly reports to the Treasury to create their own websites and landing pages to track coronavirus state spending,” the report's authors said. “The most comprehensive CRF spending pages are easy to find, provide recipient expenditure descriptions in addition to the reporting requirements set forth by the Treasury, and include expenditure data on healthcare and educational entities.”
Alaska was one of the few states that went as far to break down how recipients spent their money. The only other states to do so were Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Wyoming.
Alaska lacks transparency on fund allocations to health care and educational entities, according to the report. The analysis also noted Alaska’s website was not the easiest to find.
“Expecting all states to have websites that are easily accessible to residents and give thorough descriptions of CRF activities is a minimal expectation, given that they are already collecting this information to comply with the reporting requirements established by the U.S. Treasury,” the report's authors said.
The authors wrote they hope states recognize where they can do better and increase their transparency for taxpayers with the money they receive from the American Rescue Plan Act, which hands out $350 billion. They suggest requiring states to make their quarterly spending reports to the U.S. Treasury Department public.
Arizona, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia rounded out the bottom of the list for transparency with CARES Act spending. Most of the 50 states disclosed some of the CARES Act expenditures, according to the report.