Lt. Governor Calls for Transparency in State’s CARES Act Spending, Urges Streamlined Distribution to Critical Areas Ahead of Deadline
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Lt. Governor Dan McKee today sent a letter to Governor Gina Raimondo urging her administration to take a series of swift, transparent actions to ensure Rhode Island spends its $1.25B in CARES Act funds fully and equitably before the December 30, 2020 deadline.
The Lt. Governor’s letter outlines the following requests:
Provide the public with a detailed, up-to-date accounting of Rhode Island’s $1.25B in CARES Act funds: Itemize how much has been appropriated to various programs and how much remains in each.
Devise and share a plan to quickly reallocate unused CARES Act funds to critical areas such as rent and mortgage relief, food assistance, targeted aid for nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and additional support for small businesses and their employees. Streamline the distribution processes for remaining funds.
Improve and simplify current small business grant programs to ensure funds are properly distributed before the CARES Act deadline: Extend the deadline for the Restore RI grant program to December 15, 2020 and allow all categories of small businesses to apply including dentists, chiropractors, optometrists and other excluded industries. Allow restaurants, bars, caterers, and food trucks to base their RI on Pause Grant calculations on gross receipts which is currently an option for all other qualified businesses.
“Rhode Islanders deserve to know the details,” said Lt. Governor Dan McKee. “To help build public trust and confidence in the CARES Act spending process, I urge the state to provide detailed, up-to-date accounting information and outline a plan for spending or reallocating any remaining funds before the December 30th deadline.”
The Lt. Governor also encouraged the Governor to consider engaging municipal officials, small businesses, civic leaders and community stakeholders in each of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns in a bottom-up strategy to increase buy-in from the public on the state’s COVID-19 rules and guidance. This week, the Lt. Governor’s Office will host the first in a series of grassroots community focus groups to gather ideas on new, tailored approaches to encourage the compliance needed to control the virus.