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Wisconsin’s stimulus money nearly all spent, mostly on government

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s $2 billion in coronavirus stimulus money is almost all gone, and the biggest chunk of it has gone to government.

Gov. Tony Evers last week provided an update on the $1.99 billion in CARES Act money that his administration has spent since the end of March.

“To date, federal funds have been invested in emergency response, public health measures, and economic support initiatives for Wisconsin residents, businesses, and communities,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

Evers’ office says just $621 million has actually been spent. Another $484 million has been “obligated,” and $872 million in funds have been “committed for distribution.”

The largest piece of that money has been spent or earmarked for state and local government.

The governor’s coronavirus dashboard shows at least $561 million in spending or grants for government agencies and government employees. That’s larger than even what Wisconsin has spent on testing, tracing, and preparing frontline workers against the virus. Evers’ dashboard shows $401 million spent on testing, contact tracing, and PPE. Education in Wisconsin has received or has been promised just $257 million. The other $800 million has gone to everything from grants to farmers and loggers, to investments in the arts and local movie theaters.

Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, said the numbers paint a sad picture.

“Gov. Evers seems to be more concerned about government not being hurt by COVID 19 than real Wisconsinites,” Healy told The Center Square. “So much of the almost $2 billion from the Federal CARES Act that Gov. Evers has control over to fight COVID-19 is going to shield government and protect the jobs of government workers.”

Healy said Evers has talked about the need to slow the spread of the virus, and about the dire situation at Wisconsin’s hospitals for months. But Healy said the government hasn’t done much about it, or spent a lot of money to ease the problem.

“Rather than worry about the fate of local government or making sure that not one government worker loses their job, Gov. Evers should be spending more of the CARES Act funding to ease the strain on hospitals and to take care of the elderly and the vulnerable,” Healy added.

There is some money left to spend, but it is not much and it won’t take long to spend it.

The deadline for Wisconsin to spend its CARES Act money is the end of December.

By Benjamin Yount | The Center Square
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Reposted with permission