On Friday’s episode of The JT Show, Mississippi Senator Daniel Sparks said that deliberation when it comes to appropriating CARES Act funding is simply a product of federal regulations.
“When people think if we are moving a little slowly or deliberately, we are trying to hit a moving target, because we had very detailed treasury regs that came out on April 22nd, and then, we had an updated version on May 4th, and it may be updated again,” Sparks said. “Everything we spend must be in strict accordance with the federal government.”
The guidelines from the U.S. Department of Treasury have made it clear that the CARES Act money is designed to cover unbudgeted expenses—not the replacement of revenue—associated with the COVID-19 breakout.
Sparks said that if the state’s legislature does not abide by federal regulations, the $1.25 billion granted to Mississippi can quickly be rescinded.
“There’s something called a clawback,” Sparks said. “If we misspend 1.25 billion [dollars], the federal government is going to come to the state of Mississippi and say, ‘return my money,’ and that would be catastrophic to our budget.”
No matter how prepense the appropriations process may have to be due to federal regulations, Sparks emphasized the ultimate goal is to give the money back to Mississippians in need.
“We want to give you every bit of relief that we can within the parameters of what the federal government allows,” Sparks said. “The last thing we want to do is be a poor steward of the money that has been put in our hands.”
To watch the full interview with Sparks, check out the video below.