(The Center Square) – Just about 90% of Wisconsin’s federal coronavirus stimulus money has been allocated.
Gov. Tony Evers this week provided an update on the state’s $2 billion in CARES Act money.
“Governor Evers’ disproportionate allocation of CARES Act funding to the public sector is concerning,” Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Cedarburg, said.
“His policies have crippled small businesses and the private sector, while government has churned along without any meaningful reductions in costs,” Stroebel continued. “Our small businesses deserve better.“
The governor’s office described the spending as an investment in the effort to fight the coronavirus.
“The state has expended $476 million and obligated an additional $479 million,” the governor said in a statement. “An additional $919.1 million in funds have been committed but are not yet distributed.”
That leaves roughly $120 million.
“To date, federal funds have been invested in emergency response/public health measures and economic support initiatives for Wisconsin residents, businesses, and communities,” the governor’s statement said.
But according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, a large chunk of the state’s aid went directly to state and local government.
The dashboard shows $282 million for “surge” and state agency operations.
Wisconsin has spent another $407 million on testing, testing supplies, personal protection equipment (PPE) and lab work.
Schools, both local and the University of Wisconsin System, have received $257 million from the stimulus grant. In total, that’s $946 million, or nearly half of Wisconsin’s CARES Act allotment.
The dashboard shows that Wisconsin hasn’t just spent on state and local governments. There are all sorts of other groups and industries that have seen some of the funds.
The Evers’ administration spent $15 million on live music venues, and another $15 million on non-profit organizations. That is in addition to the $10 million that has been promised to locally owned movie theaters, and $20 million promised to local hotel/motel operators. Another $35 million has been promised for rental assistance, and $25 million has been promised to help people enroll in the state’s Foodshare program.
Wisconsin’s economic development arm, the WEDC, said there is another $125 million promised for small businesses in the state. The logging industry is set to receive $20 million. Another $50 million has been earmarked for farmers in the state.
Evers said the state’s coronavirus stimulus money is going to the “families, farmers, and small businesses who need it most.”
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.