May 12, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that Maine will receive nearly $1.5 billion in aid to state, county, and local governments through the American Rescue Plan. The funding includes more than $997 million to the State of Maine, more than $221 million to support Maine’s county governments, and a combined total of nearly $241 million for local governments. From the onset of the pandemic, Senator King has strongly called attention to the financial crunch being felt by states and localities, highlighting his concerns in a speech on the Senate floor and joining a bipartisan push for significant, flexible funding to these entities. Senator King voted for the American Rescue Plan’s passage on March 6th, and highlighted the importance of aid to state and local governments in a Portland Press Herald op-ed following the bill's passage.
“As a former governor, I understand just how crucial the day-in, day-out efforts of state and local governments are to the life of Maine people – and the importance of our public workforce has only grown during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator King. “Throughout this crisis, Maine’s state and local governments have led the way in providing essential services for our citizens. The increased demand for services has stretched these governments, making it absolutely essential that Congress provide support. The American Rescue Plan meets this need, sending critical resources to support our state, our counties, our cities, and our towns. I was proud to vote for these funds, and I am confident that our state and local leaders will effectively use the federal support to both address the immediate challenges we face and support Maine’s long-term success.”
The funding will allow local governments to address shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic, and address challenges resulting from the crisis. Senator King specifically pushed for several uses that have since been deemed eligible, including allowing state and local governments to use funds to support treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, which have skyrocketed during the pandemic. The State of Maine will also be able to cover the cost of tax relief extended to businesses that accessed the Paycheck Protection Program. Additionally, the federal guidance supports Senator King’s call that broadband investments funded through the American Rescue Plan should aim for a modern broadband speed of 100 megabits per second for both uploads and downloads; Senator King was instrumental in the inclusion of funding for broadband in the package, which is expected to bring more than $120 million in broadband investments to Maine.
The funding will be awarded as follows:
Since passage of the American Rescue Plan, Senator King has applauded the immense impacts of the legislation being felt across Maine. Last month, he announced that the U.S. Department of Treasury will allocate at least $56,234,176 to Maine businesses through the State Small Business Credit Initiative, helping small businesses access additional capital as they work to recover from the pandemic. In March, he commended the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s official announcement that 18 community health centers have received $40,964,875 in funds through the American Rescue Plan to support their tireless efforts against the largest health threat to face the U.S. in a century. Senator King highlighted the funds as an essential step to bring the virus under control and address the economic and societal costs in his op-ed in the Portland Press Herald following the bill's passage, and emphasized the importance of the legislation’s broadband funding in an op-ed for the Bangor Daily News. Additionally, Senator King applauded the inclusion of a $28.6 billion fund specifically designed to support restaurants struggling due to the pandemic in the American Rescue Plan, a provision that mirrors the fund created in the King-backed RESTAURANTS Act.