Heads of state disagree over use of US bailout funds

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WSFA) – As long as the pandemic continues, federal dollars will still be sent to the state from the US bailout fund.

Alabama grabbed the headlines after lawmakers voted in the first special session of the year to allocate $ 400 million from the fund to repair the state’s prison infrastructure.

Calling out the state with red flags, State Representative Chris England tweeted on Monday: “$ 400 million will be spent on building prisons while the remaining $ 40 million will be spent on hospitals.”

Alabama CFO Bill Poole said in response to the tweet that the state is following its legal limits on the use of money.

“The cash flow forecasts are clear. Federal law is clear. We complied with every element of it, ”said Poole. “Unless the statute changes, unless the law or the guidelines change, I think we are a very solid foundation. And I don’t think there is much of a dispute in that regard.

According to the state’s coronavirus relief budget, since the start of the pandemic, just over $ 78 million has been spent on corrections while hospitals and healthcare together are just under $ 72 million.

“There are a number of eligible uses for ARPA funds. A lot of them are very, very important to the future of the state, both on a prospective basis, but also as we continue to deal with the effects of COVID, ”said Poole.

Poole said it would be up to lawmakers to determine how the rest is spent

“The legislature will meet again in January, and I expect it will appropriate the balance of the first half of federal funds,” said Poole.

Poole said the rest of the bailout money will be available next summer.

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