General Assembly pegs first $1.6 billion of $3.5 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund

The General Assembly was in session Wednesday through Saturday to begin appropriating money from the CARES Act. They’ll be back May 18 to possibly distribute more of the $3.5 billion slated for state government from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Another $500 million will go directly to Wake County, Mecklenburg County and Charlotte, and Guilford County. Early indications are that the state will funnel another $1–$1.5 billion to other local governments, leaving roughly $2 billion for state government. For comparison, combined General Fund and state transportation funding is $27 billion

The legislature has designated $1.6 billion so far:

  • $150 million for local governments to be defined later
  • $470 million contingent on receiving flexibility from Congress to offset lost tax revenues:
    • $150 to local governments
    • $300 million to the Department of Transportation (mostly gas tax)
    • $20 million for receipt-supported agencies
Of the other $1 billion:
  • $230 million for K-12 schools, $75 million of that for school nutrition
  • $89 million for community colleges, public universities, and private colleges/universities for the transition to online-education
  • $110 million for vaccine development and antibody testing, mostly through public and private universities
  • $95 million for hospitals
  • $125 million for small business loans through a grant-making nonprofit first established to distribute tobacco settlement money
  • $180 million in other new COVID-19 expenditures
Here is the legislation, which split policy changes from budget allocations, and a spreadsheet comparing the bills
Policy provisions
Money provisions

Joseph Coletti / Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies

Joe Coletti is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation focused on fiscal policy issues. He previously headed the North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform initiativ...