July 20, 2021
PUBLIC FINANCE > Budget > FY 2022

MTF Testimony on ARPA to House & Senate Committees on Ways and Means

Please find attached the PowerPoint deck I presented yesterday at the invitation-only hearing hosted by the joint Ways and Means Committee and the House Committee of Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight. As a recognized expert on the American Rescue Plan funds, MTF offered some initial thoughts on the best approach for the Commonwealth to spend this $5.3 billion in federal assistance. The presentation provides an overview of how other states are using ARPA funds and presents key principles for state lawmakers to use as they develop Massachusetts’ approach.

Key Takeaways:

  1. These funds represent an unprecedented, one-time infusion of federal dollars that must be used wisely for maximum impact.
  2. This money should position all residents and regions of the Commonwealth for long-term economic prosperity.
  3. Need for a two-pronged approach that balances immediate investments that jumpstart the economy with transformational investments that position MA for long-term growth.
  4. Use of fiscal recovery plans must be part of a comprehensive, strategic fiscal framework in furtherance of priorities that support long-term economic vitality.
  5. Evaluation of programs and use of best practices is the key to maximizing impact and measuring progress. Programs must have clearly articulated goals and adequate oversight.
  6. States are coalescing around a handful of spending categories, such as workforce training, housing, education and childcare, water infrastructure and relief for communities hardest hit by the pandemic. These are the right focus areas for Massachusetts.
  7. Lawmakers should follow the lead of 30 other states and use a portion of the fiscal recovery funds to replenish the UI Trust Fund and alleviate the financial burden born by employers as a result of the pandemic-induced economic shutdown.