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Critics Question CARES Act Spending in Some States

By: Sophie Quinton

Even as governors ask Congress for more pandemic relief money and more leeway to spend it, critics say some states are pushing the legal limits of how previous emergency federal aid can be spent.

South Dakota auditors are worried about a decision by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration to spend $4.7 million on state trooper salaries and benefits. Idaho county prosecutors are questioning Republican Gov. Brad Little’s plan to spend up to $200 million on local public safety budgets and property tax credits.

And West Virginia Democrats say Republican Gov. Jim Justice’s plan to spend upwards of $50 million on road repairs near health care facilities violates the spirit of the $150 billion Congress sent to states, counties and cities under the March Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.

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