How Much Each State Will Receive From the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act
The new bipartisan economic stimulus legislation — known as the CARES Act — contains significant new resources to help states address their massive, immediate budget problems due to COVID-19, though states will almost certainly need more aid in coming months.
The centerpiece of the state aid is the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, which state, tribal, and local governments can use this year to meet costs connected to the virus. Each state will receive at least $1.25 billion — though the District of Columbia will only receive about $500 million — while the most populous states (California and Texas) will receive over $10 billion each, we estimate. (See Table 1.) In most states, a portion of the funding will go to local governments serving populations over 500,000. Tribal governments will receive $8 billion.
The CARES Act also includes $30 billion for elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities, $25 billion for mass transit systems, $5 billion for community development block grants (30 percent of which will go to state governments), $3.5 billion for child care, and $400 million to prepare for elections, among other funding directed to states.
States and tribes are incurring huge new costs as they seek to contain and treat the coronavirus and respond to the virus-induced spike in joblessness and related human needs. At the same time, they’re projecting sharply lower tax revenues due to the widespread collapse of economic activity brought about by the virus’ spread and needed containment activities. If they respond to this dire fiscal crisis by laying off state and tribal employees, scaling back government contracts for businesses, and cutting public services and other forms of spending, those actions will make the recession worse. (Tribes are uniquely vulnerable to the downturn since tribal businesses deeply affected by the virus and downturn, such as casinos, often generate vital government revenue for tribes to run programs such as public health and child care.) Given the economy’s extremely rapid decline and the extraordinary damage being done to state, tribal, and local budgets, federal policymakers very likely will need to come back and provide more help to states and families affected by the crisis.
|Distribution of Coronavirus Relief Fund, by State|
|State||Total distribution (millions)|
|District of Columbia||$495|
*Guam, Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa
Source: CBPP estimates using population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.