Nevada receives $ 2.7 billion as federal government sends out COVID recovery checks

WASHINGTON – Treasury Department officials on Monday released coronavirus recovery funds from the $ 1.9 trillion package passed by Congress to help states, counties, cities and tribal governments.

The bill provides $ 2.7 billion for Nevada.

The state government will see $ 150.7 million, Clark County $ 440 million, Las Vegas $ 130.5 million, with smaller amounts going to other cities and each county, according to a breakdown released by the Treasury Department.

Governor Steve Sisolak called it “one of the largest injections of federal dollars into Nevada in history.”

The announcement of the funding to states comes as many finalize their budgets, including Nevada, where the Legislature is developing its spending plan which will be finalized by the end of the month.

Sisolak, a Democrat, tasked state officials with analyzing federal guidelines on spending the funds and making sure it has the greatest impact on the state’s economy and residents of Nevada.

Treasury officials said the funding could be used to offset deficits due to the pandemic, vaccinations, improving broadband for telehealth and education. But no funds can be used for public pensions or tax cuts, stipulations sought by Republicans and some Democrats.

A semblance of normality

Democrats began the $ 1.9 trillion plan in March without a Republican vote, even though Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urged Congress to spend funds following the economic collapse of industries hard affected by the coronavirus.

“With this funding, communities hard hit by COVID-19 will be able to regain some semblance of normalcy,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. “They will be able to rehire teachers, firefighters and other essential workers – and help small businesses reopen safely.”

Nevada Congressional Democrats Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and Representatives Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, all voted for the bailout, which also included checks of $ 1,400 for those who won. less than $ 75,000 per year, or for couples earning less. over $ 150,000.

Republican Mark Amodei, R-Nev., Voted with Republicans who balked at the price of the bailout bill and some of the items included in the bailout they called handouts for interest groups liberals.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of R-California said the spending would add $ 4 trillion to the deficit.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Applauded the President and Democrats for passing the bailout that she said would “save jobs, prevent layoffs, keep services running and help our economy to recover from the crisis ”.

The bill was President Joe Biden’s first legislative victory and he did everything he could to follow through on his promise, when he took office, to immunize Americans and help the country recover from the pandemic crippling and denials about the impact of COVID-19 from the previous administration.

Republicans and President Donald Trump, as well as Democrats, adopted two bailouts last year. States and major cities received funding as part of a Republican bailout bill: The CARES Act provided for $ 150 billion for states and major cities, and the funds were distributed by population.

Money for state governments

Democrats added $ 350 billion for local governments in their $ 1.9 trillion bailout legislation passed this year against GOP opposition. And the funding formula for the states included the unemployment rate, as well as the population, in the aid calculation to further channel aid to the hardest-hit states.

Governors, state lawmakers and mayors have all sought funds due to declining incomes and the need to provide essential services, including the mayors of Las Vegas, Henderson and Reno.

States, counties and cities can use the money to provide these services, help small businesses, establish vaccination centers and meet health care needs, or direct the money to unique problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19 diseases, treatments and closures.

Federal funds can also be used to improve water and sewer systems.

Yellen noted that the pandemic was one of two major economic crises in just over a decade. The Great Recession also hit Nevada hard, with housing values ​​plummeting and foreclosures.

“During the Great Recession, when cities and states faced similar income deficits, the federal government did not provide enough assistance to close the gap. It was a mistake, ”Yellen said.

Insufficient relief meant cities had to cut spending and austerity undermined the broader recovery, ”Yellen said, adding that with the spending announced today,“ we are charting a very different – and much faster – to prosperity.

Nevada was just behind Hawaii last year in unemployment, with unemployment rates the second highest in the country after the closure of casinos, hotels, restaurants, resorts and entertainment venues, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More than a million jobs in state and local government have been lost due to the pandemic, according to Treasury officials.

Sisolak said the long-awaited data and guidelines will be analyzed by state officials and lawmakers when preparing the state budget with the announced aid for states.

Federal funding includes adjustments for unemployment, which Titus sought when drafting the bill, as well as direct payments to local and tribal governments, according to the Treasury Department.

“As a result of this achievement, Nevadans will receive twice as much aid from the state as our neighbors in Utah – despite having a slightly higher population,” Titus said.

Contact Gary Martin at [email protected] To pursue @garymartindc on Twitter.

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