LOC News

Legislators Need to Hear from Cities on $240M in Spending Authority

As a part of the allocation process for the state’s $2.6 billion share of the American Rescue Plan Act, the Legislature has decided to allow each member to have a say in how the funds will be spent.  Specifically, each state Senator will direct $4 million in spending, and each Representative will direct $2 million, for a statewide total of $240 million in discretionary funds.  A recent news article on this process is available here.

Cities are strongly encouraged to get in touch with their legislators immediately and share ideas for possible uses of these funds. If you have already had some contact on this issue, we encourage you to circle back.  One legislator recently shared on Twitter that she needed ideas by the week of May 7.

The LOC has been told that each legislator is limited to four projects or programs for their share of the allocation, so smaller asks may not be more likely to get accepted.  It is also possible a city could act as a financial agent of the state to manage multiple projects and have it only count as a single ask, but this idea is still under discussion. U.S. Treasury guidance has not yet been released, so the only direction on what spending may qualify comes from the federal legislation itself:

  • To respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality.
  • To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID–19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the city that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work.
  • For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of the city due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency.
  • To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

The LOC will continue to update our American Rescue Plan Resource Hub as more information becomes available.

Contact: Mark Gharst, Lobbyist - mgharst@orcities.org or 503-991-2192

Last Updated 4/30/21