SACRAMENTO – Today, the California State Auditor published a report investigating the state’s disbursement of the $9.5 billion provided in the federal CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to counties. The report uncovered that large counties with more than 500,000 residents received nearly double the CRF dollars per person than did small counties.
Assemblywoman Megan Dahle (R-Bieber) issued the following statement regarding this report:
“The State Audit released today confirmed the sentiment of distrust and unequal treatment many of my rural counties have felt for years, as the state continuously favors large counties at the expense of rural Californians. The disbursement of COVID-19 relief funds is only further proof of this systemic problem.
“While large counties got their funds expeditiously and nearly double the amount per person than did small counties, the 42 counties with fewer than 500,000 residents were forced to beg and plead with the Governor to get their entitled funds. Rural counties were financially bleeding trying to keep up with the demands of COVID-19 response, but the Governor held their CRF dollars hostage in order to extort compliance with his COVID-19 guidelines. This further delayed funds to the point that some rural counties received this money just two months before the December 31, 2020 expenditure date.
“It is unconscionable that some Californians received nearly double the CRF funds than others, depending on their zip code. While COVID-19 did not discriminate in the communities it ravaged throughout California, our Governor did. The 42 counties that were grossly underfunded must be immediately reimbursed for the funds they were denied, and the state must correct this unequal funding formula that discriminates against small counties for any future disbursement of federal relief.”
In May of 2020, Assemblywoman Dahle co-signed a bipartisan letter to Governor Newsom calling for him to release the CRF funds to counties with populations under 500,000. This letter can be viewed here.
Assemblywoman Megan Dahle represents the 1st Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes portions of Butte and Placer counties, along with Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, and Siskiyou counties.