It’s been eight months since the American Rescue Plan (ARP) granted Georgia billions of dollars to spend. Where $4.8 billion worth of the money will go is up to one man: Gov. Brian Kemp. 

In most states, the legislature controls the distribution of federal funds. Georgia is just one of five states where the governor is left with sole discretion over how to spend the $4.8 billion State Fiscal Recovery Fund, which makes up nearly a quarter of the state’s total ARP allocation of $17.4 billion, according to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. But Kemp has yet to tell the public what he intends to do with most of that money.

“That’s money the governor's office has direct authority over, they have an enormous amount of latitude, but they really have not given much clarity as to how those funds will be used,” said Danny Kanso, a senior policy analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI). 

To be clear, the ARP is a massive $1.9 trillion relief bill that passed in March. Georgia will receive $17.4 billion to spend by 2024. Much of that ARP money will be used to support local governments, schools, hospitals, and federal institutions in ways that are predetermined by the law. The State Fiscal Recovery Fund is money reserved from each state’s allocation for state governments to spend on pandemic relief at their own discretion.

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