On March 11, 2021, President joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The legislation is a 628-page document appropriating $1.9 trillion in federal funding affecting nearly every level of government. Reviewing the legislation's eight-page table of contents will help businesses, individuals, and governments of all sizes focus on appropriating funding by target area.
Most pertinent to the readers of this newsletter would likely be the direct allocations to smaller governments that were not previously provided through the CARES Act funding. Subtitle M, Section 9901, State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds contains these provisions. Section 603 of this portion of the legislation, beginning on page 583, delineates the method of allocation, the broadly allowable uses, and reporting requirements for appropriations to "nonentitlement units of local government." This section is relatively short, and worth reading - and keeping on hand, as it provides the clearest explanation currently available of the $19.53 billion to be distributed to states, and in turn to non-entitlement units of local governments, based largely upon their populations and capped at 75 percent of their most recent budget as of January 27, 2020.
Finance officers can best prepare their organization by familiarizing themselves with the sections of the legislation that most impact their entity directly and their community as a whole. There may be more within the bill that applies to your organization's circumstances than initially recognizable. Provisions include funding for agriculture, nutrition, education, arts, humanities, labor, and worker's protections, including COBRA subsidies and the inclusion of governments in previously excluded credits for paid sick leave and family leave. Additionally, your constituents may need to know who they should contact to participate in the relief provided for housing, food, rent, counseling, and even funeral assistance. Working together with other service providers in your area who expect to receive funding from this legislation will help increase the positive impacts of the legislation upon your local community's residents and businesses.
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