The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the final rule implementing the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) Program.
The program, created as part of the American Rescue Plan, provides $350 billion to state, local, and tribal governments to support their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring they have resources to provide for health and vaccine services, funding to support families and business who might be struggling with the economic impacts of the pandemic, and maintaining vital public services.
The final rule, announced January 6, includes some changes from the interim final rule that was issued and went into effect in May 2021. According to a summary document issued by the Treasury Department, the final rule “delivers broader flexibility and greater simplicity in the program.”
Among the changes, the final rule includes:
- an expansion of the non-exhaustive list of uses that recipients can use to respond to COVID-19 and its economic impacts, including clarifying that funds can be used for certain capital expenditures to respond to the pandemic;
- an expansion of support for public sector hiring and capacity;
- a streamlined option to provide premium pay for essential workers;
- a broadening of eligible water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure projects; and
- a simplified program for small localities.
The Treasury Department said it has distributed more than $245 billion in funds under this program in 2021.
The full text of the final rule, goes into effect on April 1, 2022. Until then, the interim final rule remains in effect. However, the summary document notes that “recipients can choose to take advantage of the final rule’s flexibilities and simplifications now, even ahead of the effective date. Treasury will not take action to enforce the interim final rule to the extent that a use of funds is consistent with the terms of the final rule, regardless of when the SLFRF funds were used.”