Hawaii has spent just 30% of its $1.2B in federal COVID-19 aid

Hawaii State Capitol
Hawaii State Capitol(HNN)
Updated: Nov. 10, 2020 at 1:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state continues to lag in getting federal aid out to residents and businesses — and the money is scheduled to be taken back at the end of December if it’s not spent.

A group monitoring the spending of federal CARES Act money says the state and counties have spent only 30% of $1.2 billion in aid. The group says they are concerned federal audits are making state and county lawyers too strict with contracts — and that’s slowing down how much money is going out the door.

“We’ve got to work through this. We’ve basically got six weeks to expend this in many cases even less because there is a deadline prior to the end of the year,” said Jill Tokuda, adviser to the Hawaii Data Collaborative, at a legislative COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

[Related coverage: Despite huge need, state has only distributed 2% of $100M set aside for housing help]

The state says any unspent money will be deposited into the unemployment fund.

The lag in spending the federal CARES Act funding comes as residents and businesses continue to experience a significant need for the aid.

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