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Finance director ‘confident’ most CARES Act money will be spent by deadline

Updated: Dec. 2, 2020 at 10:16 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Finance Director Kelly Butler said he is “highly confident” the state will “substantially” spend all of the CARES Act money by the end of the year.

Alabama received about $1.7 billion from the the federal government’s CARES Act with a Dec. 31 deadline to spend the money, according to the Alabama Department of Finance. If the money is not spent, the state will need to send it back to the federal government.

About $818 million still needs to be spent.

The money was sent for COVID-19 related expenses, but Butler said there are tight restrictions on how to use the money, making it difficult to spend it. Butler said they have received tens of thousands of requests on how to spend this money.

“There is a perception out there that this money can solve everybody’s problem and can be used for everything that people want it to be used for,” Butler said.

But that’s just not the case. For example, the Alabama League of Municipalities Director of External Affairs Kayla Bass said the CARES Act does not help all cities recover during the pandemic.

“There are such narrow guidelines on what the money can be used for and revenue loss is not one of those,” Bass said.

They are urging Congress to ease up on the spending restrictions. In the meantime, Bass encourages people to shop local and help businesses recover.

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