Meanwhile, Gov. Gianforte continues to sit on pandemic recovery funding.
We continue to ask… “Where’s the Money, Gov?”
- As newly reported cases spike in Montana, Governor Greg Gianforte continues to sit on millions of federal and state dollars allocated for Coronavirus vaccination, prevention, and mitigation. Gianforte’s Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) quarterly report from the end of 2021 reveals the administration has let hundreds of millions of dollars, allocated to fight the pandemic, go unspent. The Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding Update from early January reveals the Governor has distributed zero dollars for immunization programs and Variant testing. As case numbers reach historic highs, Montanans deserve to know why their Governor is withholding critical funding.
Let’s take a look at the money left on the table:
- ARPA awarded the state $12.8 million for “Vaccine distribution, confidence, & supply chains: DPHHS Immunization Program”— Gianforte has distributed zero dollars
- ARPA awarded the state $1.5 million for Covid Variant Testing — he has distributed zero dollars
- ARPA awarded the state $7.3 for “Public Health Workforce Capacity Enhancement” – he has spent $500,000.
- CARES II (HB3 and HB 630) allocated $58 million for epidemiology and laboratory capacity – Gianforte’s administration has spent just $10.5 million
- Total Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) funding that Gianforte is sitting on:
- Unspent $47.5 million for epidemiology and laboratory capacity
- Unspent $10.6 million for immunizations
- Unspent $130.8 million for testing, tracing, and mitigation
Meanwhile… Gov. Gianforte can’t stop taking credit for ARPA funding he once called “fiscally irresponsible”
Governor Gianforte has once again taken credit for investments that originated from ARPA funding secured by Democrats. In a press release on Monday, he took credit for the funds which will bring high speed internet access to rural Montana, calling them “historic investments.” However, the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – both Democrat-led legislation that Gov. Gianforte has spent more than a year lambasting for being “fiscally irresponsible.”
Let’s take a look at just some of the times Gianforte has taken credit for ARPA funding:
- The Governor posed with a $1.9 million check for Dillon’s water infrastructure– money that had been secured through ARPA
- Announced $1.5 million to address the case backlog with the Billings public defender office – money that had been secured through ARPA
- Promoted a $31 million grant to child care facilities on a press tour, and failed to acknowledge the source of the money was ARPA
- Celebrated his Return to Work Bonus program (despite falling far short of expectations) – all $3.7 million of those funds came from ARPA
“Democrats have made historic investments in Montana’s future economy and pandemic recovery. The Governor has fought us at every turn,” says Sheila Hogan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “He keeps biting the hand that feeds him, and hoping Montanans aren’t paying attention. But I can assure you, we are.”