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US Treasury Announces State And Local Relief Funding Amounts; $87.8M For Tulsa, $1.8B For Okla.

Chris Polansky
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum (left) holds a novelty check presented to him by Gov. Kevin Stitt (second from left) at Tulsa Police headquarters on Aug. 13, 2020, from the state's share of CARES Act funding.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Monday announced funding allocations from President Biden and Congressional Democrats' American Rescue Plan for states, cities, and counties

"Since the beginning of this crisis, state and local governments have cut over one million jobs," Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told reporters on a Monday morning press call. "In response, the Treasury Department today is launching $350 billion in funding for state, local, territorial and Tribal governments."

The "Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund" will award $1.87 billion to the State of Oklahoma, $126.5 million to Tulsa County, and $87.8 million to the City of Tulsa. 

The administration said $20 billion in total would be allocated to Tribal Nations, but did not provide a breakdown on Monday.

Gene Sperling, a Biden senior adviser and the White House American Rescue Plan coordinator, said the administration had learned "lessons of the past" from an Obama-era stimulus package in response to the Great Recession that the Biden White House believes, in retrospect, was too small.

"This is ensuring that those state and local governments are able to not just bounce back, not just build back, but, as somebody I know says, build back better and build back quickly," Sperling said.

Adeyemo said the funding was designed to be able to be used in "broad and flexible" ways. 

"In addition to helping these governments address the revenue losses they have experienced as a result of the crisis, it will help them cover the costs incurred due responding to the public health emergency and provide support for a recovery – including through assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, and aid to impacted industries," the treasury department said in its fact sheet. "It will also provide resources for state, local, and Tribal governments to provide premium pay to essential workers and make necessary investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure."

Two explicitly prohibited uses of the money are deposits into pension funds and as a way to offset new tax cuts. 

A senior administration official said the program was designed not just to aid in pandemic recovery but provide the fiscal means for governments to make "transformative changes" to address systemic disparities that existed pre-COVID and were exacerbated by the virus.

All seven members of Oklahoma's all-Republican federal delegation -- Sens. James Lankford and Jim Inhofe, and Reps. Stephanie Bice, Tom Cole, Kevin Hern, Frank Lucas and Markwayne Mullin -- voted against the relief package.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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