In the News: Lawmakers and a new audit scrutinize Utah governor's emergency spending during COVID-19
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
"We owe it to tax payers to keep a close eye on the way this money is being spent. The process matters."
Thank you, Ben Winslow for the chance to discuss this important issue.
Yesterday, during the Government Operations Committee we discussed the state of emergency, emergency purchasing and no-bid contracts. I expressed concerns with the state continuing the state of emergency, and the expedited purchasing powers that come with that. That isn't to say that we shouldn't take this pandemic seriously, we should. But we can do that without being under a declared state of emergency. When we discuss "emergencies" most of us think of fires, floods, etc. When the state code was crafted I do not think it was thought it would be applied to a months long pandemic, like COVID-19. Process matters. We will be reviewing emergency powers and the authority of local health departments in our next committee meeting.
In addition, we discussed how federal stimulus dollars have and will be spent. Thus far, Utah has received $2.5 billion dollars from the federal, we spent most of our time discussing the $935 million of CARES money that has to be spent by December 31. You can see a specific break down here. Although these are federal dollars, they are still tax payer dollars, it's important to remember that as we move forward with discussions on accepting and spending federal funds. (https://le.utah.gov/interim/2020/pdf/00003714.pdf)
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