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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Economic experts back the Massachusetts Legislature’s slow approach to spending federal coronavirus relief dollars

Economic experts backed the Legislature’s take-it-slow approach to pulling out the remaining $4.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds, as Governor Charlie Baker found himself at odds with Democratic lawmakers over how and when in a series of Spending cash for the first time. Why hearing?

“We have to start making the proposed investment now, not months from now,” Baker said, before the Joint Committee on Methods and Means on Tuesday to immediately invest $2.9 of federal American Rescue Plan Act money. Billion plan. “Some of these programmes, especially housing and infrastructure projects, need to be implemented over a longer period of time. For others, time is of the essence to meet immediate needs. “

The governor’s plan calls for $1 billion for housing and homeownership, $1 billion for infrastructure investment, $450 million for economic development, $240 million for workforce development, and $225 million for hospitals and health care. is.

Baker emphasized the urgent need for investment to rebuild communities torn apart by the pandemic, telling lawmakers on Zoom that “time was not our friend then. And it remains a significant obstacle.”

Senate President Michael Rodrigues said the legislature was “responsibly and strategically investing these lump sum federal funds”.

“While it is important that we take the time needed to properly make these investments, we understand the importance of moving quickly in the face of any emerging public health threat associated with the pandemic,” Rodrigues said, adding that a “monthly “- hinting at the lengthy process.

The take-it-slow approach was supported by a handful of economic experts who testified on Tuesday.

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