(The Center Square) – Connecticut fell in the middle of the pack of a recent independent analysis examining how states are disclosing the use of federal CARES Act dollars.
Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy organization, recently released a report, “Federal Dollars, States’ Recoveries.” In it, Connecticut was one of 27 states falling into the category of “states with some disclosure” for sharing how the first wave of pandemic-induced relief funds have been used.
The state checked four of the organization’s seven analytical boxes for compliance – most notably, the creation of a dedicated website through the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management.
“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,” Katie Furtado of Good Jobs First wrote in the report.
In the analysis, Furtado and other Good Jobs First researchers also gave Connecticut favorable scores for clearly conveying through the site agency and fund allocations, award recipients and expenditure categories for recipients.
However, the state was dinged for not disclosing data through the site on spending descriptions, education data and health data.
The Good Jobs First report only focused on former President Donald Trump’s $2.2 trillion CARES Act and its outgrowth of the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The legislation provided $150 billion in emergency assistance to states, municipalities, and other governing bodies at the height of the pandemic.
Connecticut was awarded a total of $1.382 billion through this CARES Act, according to U.S. Department of the Treasury data.
Connecticut and all other state and local governments across the country are required to compile quarterly reports on how CARES Act dollars are spent. The information is reported through a portal, Pandemic Oversight, that is an official website of the U.S. government.
In the analysis, Good Jobs First is calling on the U.S. Treasury to change some of its existing categories to encourage more thorough reporting, particularly as the next wave of ARPA funding allocations come. The organization also is suggesting dedicated websites are utilized for each state.
“We recommend that legislators go one step further with ARPA and require that each locality … establish a website or landing page that posts their spending activities,” Furtado wrote.
Six states were cited as “exemplary” for having dedicated websites and furnishing detailed reports on how the funds were used – Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Wyoming.
On the other end of the spectrum, 17 states were ranked at the bottom for “inadequate or no disclosure” of CARES Act spending through a dedicated website.
The bottom-ranking states were Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Also on the list was Washington, D.C.