RI lawmakers to review proposals on how to spend $1.1 billion in ARPA funding


PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — The House Finance Committee will be taking up a proposal Wednesday from Gov. Dan McKee for how to spend the state’s $1.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

During Tuesday’s briefing, McKee said that he is pushing for the money to be spent soon, suggesting the first 10% to be spent on families, workers, and small businesses.

“I’ve talked with small business owners and families, many folks are still struggling. Many businesses are just keeping their heads above water. And they tell me that they need help now,” McKee said.

Lawmakers will also hear testimony for spending an additional $32 million for impacted small businesses and industries, as well as $13 million to support tourism and hospitality.

Wednesday’s hearing also comes one day after the R.I. Foundation released its own recommendations for spending the money with a focus on affordable housing, behavioral healthcare neighborhood trusts, and workforce development.

“Many times we’ve tackled big issues – we’ve come up with a lot of ideas and we get stuck at the end because there’s no money. This time we started the other way around. The money, we know, is here. It’s how we use it,” President and CEO of the R.I. Foundation Neil Steinberg said.

The hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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