Some lawmakers in Massachusetts are demanding to know why the administration of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has not spent more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus stimulus funds.
“We need to stop sitting on money,” state Rep. Mike Connolly, D-Cambridge, told the Boston Herald. “He was sitting on money for several months while we engaged in a big debate (about) how to protect tenants from eviction.”
Many businesses are in desperate need of cash to stay viable, said state Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen.
“The governor needs to start allocating these resources immediately — not in the future when it may be too late for small businesses presently on the verge of closure — but now, when they need it to survive,” she said.
About $1.38 billion of the aid allocated to Massachusetts for expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency had been spent, leaving $1.32 billion on the table, according to state data.
A spokesperson for the Executive Office for Administration and Finance responded that all coronavirus relief fund dollars received have been “spent or committed.”
The state may be holding on to money for potential financial issues this year, said Greg Sullivan, research director for government watchdog organization Pioneer Institute.
“The administration is playing it tight to the vest because many problems — that could be very expensive to fix — are going to be coming up this year,” he said, including public transit, higher education and an anticipated $4 billion unemployment trust fund deficit.