(The Center Square) – A new report on transparency in Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) spending placed South Carolina among the states with some disclosure of its CRF spending.
The CRF was a section of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that gave states a combined $111.8 billion to cover COVID-19-related costs.
The report was produced by the nonpartisan nonprofit Good Jobs First, a Washington-based policy center that track subsidies and promotes accountability.
The report rated six states as having exemplary disclosure of CRF spending: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts and Wyoming. Twenty-seven states, including South Carolina were classified as “some disclosure," and 17 other states and the District of Columbia fell in the inadequate or no disclosure category.
“Recipient and vendor spending descriptions were of high importance to us, as they give constituents a detailed picture of how CRF money was ultimately spent,” the report said. “State pages with this information were treated as examples of good disclosure. States without spending websites or with websites with very little information were considered as poor disclosure.”
South Carolina has one main website to provide CARES Act spending disclosures.
South Carolina received check marks for all of the provided categories besides “spending descriptions.” The state does provide easily accessible information, agency-fund recipients, recipients, expenditure categories for recipients, education data and health data, according to the report.
The report said states now have a second chance to give a higher level of transparency with the American Rescue Plan Act, which includes the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Program that sent $350 billion to states.
Good Jobs First believes new reporting requirements for the ARPA spending could be included on state websites and would make a big difference in terms of transparency.
“Since states are already collecting this information to satisfy reporting requirements, they should provide this information on their own sites,” the report said. “The quarterly reports that states submit to the Treasury include the expenditure data available on websites and much more.”