States, cities to receive $350 billion in aid this week from COVID stimulus passed in March

WASHINGTON — State, city and county governments this week will receive their first infusion of direct aid from $350 billion in emergency funds approved in the American Rescue Plan two months after President Joe Biden signed the COVID-19 relief package into law. 

The Biden administration launched an online portal Monday that will allow local and state governments to access their share of funds. The amount allocated for each municipality was determined by unemployment data.

Most will receive money in two tranches – one this year, the second in 12 months – but states that have seen their unemployment rates increase by 2% or more since February will receive funds in a single payment. Payments will begin within days.

The $1.9 trillion COVID relief package included $350 billion in direct aid to states and cities to replenish governments that experienced tax revenue shortfalls as businesses locked down during the coronavirus pandemic. Many state and local governments were forced to make cuts or halt spending. The law mandated the Treasury Department deliver the aid within 60 days of Biden’s signature on March 11, which is Tuesday.

More than 1 million jobs in state and local government have been cut since the start of the pandemic more than one year ago, according to the Treasury Department. 

“With this funding, communities hit hard by COVID-19 will able to return to a semblance of normalcy; they’ll be able to rehire teachers, firefighters and other essential workers – and to help small businesses reopen safely,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

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