State House, Senate leaders seek flexibility in using $1.2 billion in federal coronavirus funds

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Delaware State House and Senate leaders from both parties are asking the state’s Congressional Delegation for help in getting more flexibility in using more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus aid.

The authors of the letter noted that money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $150 billion directly to states, territories, tribes and localities to combat the public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delaware is expected to receive approximately $1.25 billion under the omnibus measure.The funds will be transferred to states during the next two weeks.

“The CARES Act provides vital funding, but it restricts the money to unbudgeted expenses related to COVID-19. It cannot be used to address states’ revenue losses. This is far too restrictive for states like Delaware to effectively apply the federal funds. Being able to use these dollars to shore up Delaware’s operating budget is critical to maintaining services and recovering from this unprecedented crisis,” the letter stated.

“Flexible federal funds for state revenue shortfalls will help states continue to provide vital citizen services, prevent further shutdown of vital sectors of the state economy, and hasten the recovery once social distancing measures are relaxed,” the letter continued.

Delaware faces an estimated budget shortfall ranging from $500 million to $1 billion.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has asked leaders in all states to write similar letters.

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