Governor Mark Gordon has charged a diverse group of stakeholders with developing a blueprint for the use of federal relief funds that will be distributed to the State of Wyoming and local governments later this year through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Estimates are that the State of Wyoming will receive $1.1 billion. In addition, millions of other dollars will be distributed to citizens via tax rebates, and to local governments and other entities directly from the federal government.
The Governor’s instruction is to identify the needs and opportunities for Wyoming and develop a budget to optimize the one-time dispersal of these funds.
“Wyoming will survive the impacts of COVID, drive through our period of recovery and set up the conditions for us to thrive in the long-term,” Governor Gordon said. “It is imperative to emphasize long-term benefits because this funding has increased the debt for future generations.”
He stressed it will require collaboration between the legislature and the Executive branch to maximize the benefits of these resources for the people of Wyoming.
“I am committed to working with the Legislature to ensure that we use the funds effectively and responsibly, and that we seek to develop big ideas that will have significant and long-lasting impacts” the Governor added. “Wyoming won’t see these funds for some time, allowing us to develop a plan to ensure these dollars benefit citizens for years to come.”
The American Rescue Plan includes $350 billion in aid to states and local governments. Guidance from the federal government on the use of the funds is expected to be issued in May, however unlike the federal CARES act funding, Wyoming will have nearly four years to spend the funds.
The Governor wants to have a plan for managing the virus response and to focus on three areas to identify the most significant problems Wyoming is facing due to this pandemic and also to address the highest priorities. They are:
1) Health and Social Services
2) Education and Workforce
3) Economic Diversity and Economic Development
Each focus area will be led by a member of the Executive branch in collaboration with the Governor’s office. Governor Gordon stressed the importance of using these one-time funds for one-time expenses.