The CARES Act provides $150 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds for states, tribes and local governments. It is a centerpiece of the state aid in the CARES package, with the funds to be used to reimburse expenses incurred by the states and local governments as a result of Covid-19. Each state will receive funds based on population and at least $1.25 billion. Mississippi is expected to receive approximately $1.3 billion. The legislation provides that funding will be available directly to the states and to local governments serving populations over 500,000. Forty-five percent of the funds provided to each state are set aside for eligible expenses of local governments. With Mississippi not having a local government exceeding 500,000 in population, questions remain concerning access to funds by Mississippi cities and counties.
The CARES Act is the third COVID-19 relief package. Even as the Act is going into effect, a new fourth relief package is being developed. There have been numerous requests (1) for significant additional funds allocated to local governments with populations less than 500,000 or (2) to lower the threshold for direct Coronavirus Response Fund access through Section 5001 of the CARES Act.