Governor Mark Gordon has identified the areas on which he will focus to administer federal dollars awarded to the state under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. Wyoming recently received the first half of the state’s allocation.
The Governor plans to strategically utilize the $1 billion in federal funds to address the immediate and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The areas of focus he has identified are:
- Health and Social Services
- Education and Workforce
- Economic Diversity and Economic Development
The Governor and his Cabinet are working to identify both short and long-term priorities within each area of focus. This work not only includes identifying the most significant problems the state is facing due to the pandemic, but also identifying the best opportunities for investment of these funds. A preliminary planning framework will be released in June. The process will include developing proposals for initiatives or new programs for consideration by the Legislature. Unlike previously received federal relief funds, the funds provided to the state by the ARP do not need to be immediately spent. The state has more than three years to spend these funds.
The Governor emphasized his determination to use the funds strategically.
“We are going to be laser-focused on addressing Wyoming’s short and long-term recovery, and on getting people back to work,” Governor Gordon said. “I want to ensure we use these dollars to thrive in the long-term, because this federal spending is increasing debt on our children and the generations to come. We must not squander this opportunity to invest wisely in our state’s future.” Counties and municipalities, as well as tribal governments, will also receive separate funding through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds section of the ARP. Furthermore, the ARP provides additional funding to schools and higher education, child care stabilization and assistance, behavioral health clinics, community health centers, and other entities. For example, Wyoming will receive $360 million for education and $9 million for community health centers.