Jennifer Wessel, JD, MPH
Senior Policy Analyst and Data Privacy Officer
Arkansas will receive nearly $2.6 billion in state and local recovery funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) of 2021, according to the interim final rule issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Monday, May 17. The funds are to be used to support COVID-19 response needs, fill revenue shortfalls, and address the unequal impact of the pandemic on certain populations. The ARP provides each state and local government the flexibility to cover a broad range of expenses to meet local needs and make investments to improve the health of the community. The funds must be used by Dec. 31, 2024.
The ARP provides $195.3 billion to states and the District of Columbia. Part of this amount is allocated equally, and the remainder is based on the average number unemployed individuals in each state. Arkansas’s state government has been allotted $1,573,121,580 ($1,073,121,580 based on the average number of unemployed individuals, plus $500 million from the even distribution). State governments will receive funds in split payments, except for states where the unemployment rate is 2% or more above its pre-pandemic level. Based on employment data as of May 10, Arkansas will receive split payments.
Local governments will receive funds in split payments, with 50% provided this month and the remainder delivered approximately a year later. Local governments include metropolitan cities, counties, and non-entitlement units of local government — generally local governments with populations of less than 50,000. The U.S. Treasury plans to provide further guidance on distributions to non-entitlement units later.
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for Arkansas
- State government: $1,573,121,580.80
- Counties: $586,173,048.00
- Non-entitlement units: $216,225,138.00
- Metropolitan cities: $208,848,763.00
Arkansas Metropolitan Cities with the Highest Allocation Amounts
- Little Rock: $37,713,401
- Springdale: $21,351,596
- Fort Smith: $21,220,634
- Fayetteville: $17,911,418
- North Little Rock: $16,769,719
- Pine Bluff: $16,044,400
- Jonesboro: $15,579,043
- Conway: $12,233,839
- Rogers : $11,710,729
- Hot Springs: $11,370,797
Arkansas Counties with the Highest Allocation Amounts
- Pulaski: $76,124,117
- Benton: $54,219,867
- Washington: $46,459,271
- Sebastian: $24,828,896
- Faulkner: $24,475,383
- Saline: $23,781,952
- Craighead: $21,430,698
- Garland: $19,304,565
- White: $15,296,847
- Lonoke: $14,239,414
The ARP funding is a lifeline for many communities across the nation. In an opinion piece published online Wednesday, May 12, by Talk Business and Politics, ACHI Health Policy Director Craig Wilson and ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson offered suggestions for Arkansas communities on possible uses for the funds provided under the American Rescue Plan. They recommended that communities use the money not only to address immediate pandemic-related budget and safety needs but also to invest in a better future.
Another helpful resource is the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which has outlined priorities for the use of funds that would have long-term benefits, especially for the communities most harmed by the pandemic.