In response to the COVID pandemic, the federal government enacted six major relief bills totaling over $5 trillion. The federal government allocated about $34 billion to the state of Kansas. Out of that, the state had discretion on how to spend about $2.6 billion. In May 2020, the governor established the Office of Recovery and created a taskforce to distribute and administer certain COVID relief funds. The state distributed CARES Act discretionary funding through a 3 round proess that involved the SPARK taskforce and the State Finance Council. About $1.6 billion in ARPA funds are currently being distributed thorugh legislative appropriation and the SPARK taskforce.
The state's distribution of CARES Act funding appeared appropriate and reasonable. Most of the CARES Act expenditures we reviewed were likey allowable under federal spending rules. However, some expenditures appeared wasteful or raised other concerns even though the expenditure may be allowable under federal rules. Federal rules likely contibuted to the problems we encountered.