DSM USA Policy HQ - The American Rescue Plan
The DSM USA Policy Headquarters podcast is a monthly conversation between experts on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector.
In the latest installment of the DSM USA Policy Headquarters podcast, Jamie Cashman, government relations manager of the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC), and Robert Palmer, general counsel and director of government affairs for Iowa League of Cities, discussed the American Rescue Plan (ARP), including an overview of the bill, what uses are available to Iowa and potential impacts of money coming into the state.
ARP State + Fiscal Local Recovery Fund
Cashman said that Iowa’s 99 counties will use the ARP funds received directly from the U.S. Treasury. Overall allocation is $612 million, with allocation per county ranging from $95 million (Polk) to $1.3 million (Adair) in The Partnership’s 10-county footprint, with a host of allocated amounts in between. Within ISAC, a working group of county officials are acting as a sounding board as enrollment and spending takes place. Within each county, ISAC is urging the creation of smaller working groups to discuss the usage of funds. Cashman is urging ISAC members to consider larger projects and long-term investments in their counties as it’s unlikely this type of monetary influx will be seen again.
Palmer spoke about entitlement and non-entitlement units of city government. Iowa has 12 entitlement cities, which apply similar to how the counties do, through the U.S. Treasury. These cities will receive a combined total of $300 million. The remaining 930 cities, receiving just over $220 million, apply through the State of Iowa.
Utilizing Dollars from the ARP
Cashman shared the four main areas that ARP dollars will go to include:
· Covid Response and Mitigation
· Premium Pay for Essential Workers
· Revenue Loss
· Infrastructure (Broadband, Water, Wastewater)
He discussed counties looking at needs within technology and mental health, along with the four main areas listed above.
Palmer said the great thing about the ARP is how broadly the funds can be used. The cities can’t use it to pay down debt or legal judgements, but in terms of infrastructure, there is a lot of interest in investing in water and wastewater by injecting dollars to create long-term value. With 942 cities, everyone is looking at investment opportunities differently. Palmer said they are encouraging people to meet with their community and collaborate on the needs of that particular city. While funds must be drawn down by cities by Sunday, August 22, 2021 (unless an extension is sought), they don’t have to be allocated until December 31, 2024 and the dollars don’t have to be spent until December 31, 2026. This lead time allows for cities to analyze their local needs and think through projects.
Other topics discussed included how the business community can help support using dollars efficiently, what the long-term impact of spending the dollars might be and more.
Listen to the entire podcast above.
The DSM USA Policy Headquarters podcast focuses on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector. Join us each month to hear from local Greater Des Moines (DSM) experts. To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here.