Indiana has about 700-million dollars in federal pandemic aid left to spend by the end of the year.
Some spending has been delayed by a lack of clarity on what CARES Act money can be used for. Indiana has accelerated the pace of spending as it receives more federal guidance. State budget director Cris Johnston says the government finally confirmed the state can use the money to reimburse cities and counties for police, fire and health department payroll costs related to the pandemic. That change alone has freed up 70-million dollars in payments, with more likely before the end of the year.
Johnston says some cities and counties have been delaying requesting money until December, to have a more precise idea of how much they’re eligible for. The state will send out reminders next month that the deadline is approaching.
He says the state has earmarked a half-billion dollars in CARES Act spending in the last month, putting more money into masks and sanitizer for schools and daycares, rent assistance, small businesses, and grants to arts organizations.
Johnston also says one possibility for the remaining money is to shore up Indiana’s unemployment fund so the state doesn’t have to borrow.