New York comptroller launches portal to trace COVID-19 spending

New York now has a brand new on-line dashboard indicating the quantity of COVID-19 aid funding the state has obtained and the way a lot it has disbursed.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli unveiled the tracker in a press release this week. Along with monitoring federal funds, together with these earmarked for state and native restoration and emergency help to renters and householders, it additionally tracks allocations for state-run excluded staff and small enterprise help funds.

With billions of {dollars} allotted to New York, DiNapoli mentioned he needs to offer “full transparency” relating to how officers spend these funds.

“My workplace will observe the cash to make sure federal funds are getting the place they’re presupposed to go and being spent in good and environment friendly methods to assist New York’s restoration,” he mentioned.

The comptroller’s workplace will replace the numbers on a month-to-month foundation.

By means of the top of September, the tracker exhibits New York has obtained $13.1 billion of the $13.5 billion anticipated in federal help for state and native governments. Nonetheless, solely $387.1 million of that has been spent.

The American Rescue Plan Act provides authorities leaders till Dec. 31, 2024, to allocate that funding.

Different funding packages fall underneath tighter deadlines. For instance, federal officers awarded states and choose communities two rounds of funding for the Emergency Rental Help Program. This system known as for states to allocate at the least 65 p.c of the primary part by the top of September.

New York has obtained about $1.7 billion of the greater than $2.8 billion Congress awarded out of the 2 spending payments. Whereas solely $696.4 million has been spent as of Sept. 30, state officers have truly allotted about $1.6 billion. Gov. Kathy Hochul mentioned that she has requested extra funding to cowl extra renters in want.

Different packages at the moment on the dashboard embrace: Elementary and Secondary College Emergency Aid ($14.7 billion anticipated, $924.5 million obtained, $937.1 million spent); Coronavirus Aid Fund ($5.1 billion, $5.1 billion, $3.9 billion); Baby Care Providers ($2.5 billion, $143.2 million, $151,5 million); Owners Help ($539.5 million, $53.9 million, $50 million); and the state-funded Small Enterprise Restoration ($1.6 billion obtainable , $207.6 million spent) and Excluded Staff Fund ($2.1 billion, $968.5 million).

The state closed the appliance window for the Excluded Staff Fund final Friday and mentioned it expects the funding to be exhausted by the top of this month.

The tracker was nicely obtained by authorities watchdog organizations.

“The general public deserves to know the way and when its cash is being spent, and this gives much-needed perception right into a broad vary of essential aid and restoration packages,” mentioned Andrew S. Rein, president of the Residents Finances Fee. “The huge inflow of federal help gives nice alternatives, however solely whether it is managed nicely and drives outcomes.”

A number of observers mentioned they hoped future variations would come with extra info, and DiNapoli’s assertion mentioned extra spending packages and knowledge can be included because it turns into obtainable.

Betsy Gotbaum, government director of Residents Union, mentioned the dashboard will assist the general public perceive how tax {dollars} are being spent.

“We recognize the Comptroller’s dedication to transparency and stay up for extra detailed disclosure so the general public can additional monitor how cash is being spent,” she mentioned. “We encourage native governments to create comparable trackers so taxpayers can see how the funds which were distributed to counties and municipalities are being spent, as nicely.”

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