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Published April 22, 2020

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has released guidance for State, Local, and Tribal Governments regarding the Coronavirus Relief Fund (Section 5001 of the CARES Act).

As stated by the legislation signed by the President on March 27th, the use of funds “are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).”  The guidance document and frequently asked questions provide, in detail, examples of eligible and ineligible expenditures of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund.

In order for a local government to receive direct aid, it must have a population higher than 500,000; this provision in the CARES Act automatically made all of Montana’s Counties ineligible.  The State of Montana will receive $1.25 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund for COVID-19 related expenses.

On April 16th, Governor Bullock announced the establishment of a Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force to provide guidance and advice on how to best use the $1.25. The Task Force includes 24 Montanans from various sectors, of which MACo Executive Director, Eric Bryson, has been appointed a seat. MACo thanks Governor Bullock for including local government in the creation of this important group.

More Info About the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act (CARES)

The $2.2 trillion economic relief package provides American families, healthcare workers, and small businesses with the economic support they need to get through this challenging time. This aid comes on top of the Family First Coronavirus Aid Package, enacted last month. State/Local/Tribal provisions include:

  • $150 billion in direct aid to State, Tribal, and local governments. Aid will be allocated primarily by a State’s population with each State receiving at least $1.25 billion. (As mentioned above, the provision regarding direct aid to local governments is for local governments with populations higher than 500,000–this automatically made all of Montana’s Counties ineligible.)
  • $340 billion in additional emergency supplemental funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
  • $500 billion for loans and guarantees that authorize the U.S. Treasury to support eligible businesses and States and local governments to cover losses incurred as a result of COVID-19.
  • $100 billion for hospitals and health care facilities to reimburse expenses or lost revenues not otherwise reimbursed that are directly attributable to COVID-19.
  • $3.5 billion to allow States to expand childcare benefits for healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the frontlines of this crisis.