RALEIGH —$2,033,433,088.75. That is the amount the Trump Administration deposited into the state treasury on April 15.
North Carolina received the funds from the federal government as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act according to North Carolina State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell and the Financial Operations Division of the Department of State Treasurer.
The CARES Act contains $150 billion for the Coronavirus Relief Fund which includes direct payments to eligible local governments, the states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories.
On April 14, staff from the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), the Office of the State Controller and the Office of the Treasurer completed the application and the over $2 billion in federal funds were received by the State Bank the next day.
According to a press release by Folwell’s office, the $2 billion is the first disbursement from the federal government of close to $4 billion the state expects to receive.
“As keepers of the public purse, we’re responsible for receiving money and putting it in interest-bearing accounts,” said Folwell. “We’ll process the withdrawal when directed by the legislative and executive branches.”
Folwell is back to work but still recovering after spending five days in the hospital earlier this month battling COVID-19. His condition never required a ventilator, but due to low oxygen levels, Folwell’s doctors treated him with an experimental combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
Once the North Carolina General Assembly decides how the state’s money will be appropriated via legislation expected by the end of April, OSBM will distribute the funds. Until the money is released, the Investment Management Division of the State Treasurer’s office will invest the money in a short-term investment fund that is “high quality, low risk and interest-bearing.”
“We’ve received over $2 billion from the federal government through the Coronavirus Relief Fund and we expect to receive another $1.5 billion. We’re waiting to see the final rules, but we know they’re only permitting the legislature to appropriate these funds for pandemic-related expenses,” Senator Harry Brown (R-Onslow), the Senate’s chief budget writer, said in a press statement.
“The good news is the legislature has some pretty recent experience with this sort of thing. We expect to adopt the same protocols that the Democrats adopted in 2009 for deploying the legislature’s Constitutional role in appropriating all funds,” said Brown.