Gov. Reeves got $50 million in CARES Act money. Here’s how he spent it.

Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Gov. Tate Reeves and legislative leaders battled last year over who had the authority to spend $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds.

The Legislature ultimately prevailed in the spending control of the CARES Act funding, but part of the political compromise was granting the governor sole spending authority of $50 million.

One year later, Reeves has been allocated the $50 million but has spent only $20.7 million of that amount.

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Reeves’ office, when contacted by Mississippi Today, would not provide any details of how the public money has been allocated and spent. But we obtained a breakdown from the Department of Finance and Administration, an agency that falls under the governor’s control.

Reeves allocated those funds to eight agencies — most of which fall under his direct control, according to information provided by DFA.

Governor’s spending

As of the end of May, the governor’s CARES Act funding disbursement consists of:

  • Supreme Court: $2.5 million allocated and $459,568 spent
  • Attorney General: $232,734 allocated and no money spent
  • Auditor: $3 million allocated and $606,588 spent
  • Department of Revenue: $1.5 million allocated and fully spent
  • Department of Finance and Administration: $6.7 million allocated and $692,482 spent
  • Mississippi Development Authority: $2.8 million allocated and $2.75 spent
  • Department of Corrections: $812,855 allocated and fully spent
  • Mississippi Emergency Management Agency: $32.5 million allocated and $13.9 million spent

Agencies contacted by Mississippi Today say they have used the funds to deal with issues related to combatting COVID-19. For instance, DFA spent $692,482 for such items as mailing out the checks to businesses that received grants through the CARES Act, to offset losses during the coronavirus lockdown and for other issues related to helping agencies that received CARES Act funding.

“How the remaining funds will be spent is yet to be determined, but they will be used on the unexpected expenses related to the pandemic as they arise,” said Marcy Scoggins, a spokesperson for DFA.