By Guy Page
Vermont ranks last in projected allocations to state governments from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act passed by the House of Representatives, according to a March 3 report by Congressional Research Service. The Act now goes to the U.S. Senate, where a tough battle is expected over its high price tag, inclusion of a national $15 minimum wage, and other controversial features.
Of the $220 billion allocated by the ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Fund to states, territories, tribal governments, and Washington DC, Vermont will receive $852 million. The next-smallest allocation is Wyoming, at $911 million.
Both the District of Columbia ($2.28 billion) and Puerto Rico ($4 billion) receive considerably more than Vermont. The biggest winner is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s populous home state of California ($42 billion), followed by Texas ($27 billion) and New York ($23 billion).
Amounts provided may be used to: (1) respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency; (2) cover costs incurred related to the emergency; (3) replace lost, delayed, or decreased revenue, relative to projections issued before January 27, 2020; and (4) address negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the CRS report said.
According to analyst Openthebooks.com, Vermont lost $2.1 billion when House Democrats shifted the formula emphasis from state population to unemployment:
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats changed the allocation formula from being based on population to the unemployment rate. This change caused 23 states to gain $31.9 billion and 27 states to lose that funding. The four biggest winners were Democratic strongholds: California—which reaped an extra $6.7 billion; New York—which added another $6 billion; Illinois — increased by $2.1 billion; and New Jersey — a $2 billion increase. The biggest losers were Florida (-$2.3 billion), Vermont (-$2.1); and Wyoming (-$2 billion). The funding change rewarded Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in New York ($23.5 billion) over Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in Florida ($17.3 billion), even though Florida has a larger population and a lower COVID-19 death rate.”
Vermont Congressman Peter Welch voted for the bill, according to a March 1 press release from his office: “Representative Peter Welch supported the House passed $1.9 trillion ‘American Rescue Plan’ COVID relief bill late Friday night. The bold bill is a top priority of both Rep. Welch and President Joe Biden and will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, extend federal unemployment insurance, deliver immediate financial relief to families, support small businesses and vaccinate more people throughout the country against the coronavirus.”
Vermont’s smallest-state share failed to impress one Vermont Daily online commenter: Once again, Welch doesn’t fail to disappoint and forgets what he was elected to do.While focused on forming the US version of Pravda, he ignored Vermont. A tidbit on the current “Covid Stimulus Bill” just passed by the house, shows Vermont at the bottom of the list for “aid”. While Pelosi will take home 42.3 billion, Welch will settle for a mere 852 million of our as yet uncollected taxpayer dollars. Four US territories will receive less aid, 49 states more.”