Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds

Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds title=
Dr. Beth Prinz administers a COVID test in Goleta. [Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)]
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

The state auditor said Tuesday that California’s finance department has massively shortchanged smaller counties, including Santa Barbara, of federal COVID-19 relief funds. 

A report issued by State Auditor Elaine Howle concluded that the methodology used to distribute $1.3 billion in funding gave a disproportionate amount to California’s 16 most populous counties, with relief totals amounting to $190 per resident in those areas compared to $102 per person in the 42 smaller counties.

While California received a total $15.3 billion in CARES Act assistance ― most of which went directly from the federal government to cities and counties, or from the state Legislature to schools ― the report focused on the $1.3 billion state officials were then responsible for doling out.

The report also rebutted the finance department’s explanation for the uneven disbursement ― officials claimed bigger communities had higher virus transmission rates and therefore needed more money. “Based on the COVID-19 case data for all counties, the needs of many small counties, as reflected in case rates, were at least the same if not greater than the needs of large counties,” the report says.

Jeff Frapwell with Santa Barbara County’s Executive Office said Tuesday that he’d reviewed Howle’s findings. “We concur with the Auditor’s conclusion that California counties with populations under 500,000 were disadvantaged by the methodology used to allocate the [Coronavirus Relief Fund] funding passed through the State,” he said. “We are hopeful that any future financial aid from the federal government in support of our response to the current pandemic be allocated on a more equitable basis.” 

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JB86 Jan 21, 2021 07:48 PM
Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds

Hard to discern the politics of this, but one thing is for sure, divvying up the funds in CA was a Democratic thing, from the Governor on down. Can't blame Trump for this problem.

Voice of Reason Jan 22, 2021 01:11 PM
Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds

I know, what are they going to do know that they can't blame all our problems on Trump? With CA and now the Feds completely blue there should be no more excuses...

sblocal1967 Jan 21, 2021 05:09 PM
Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds

Salud is too busy flying back and forth to/from DC. What a lousy excuse for a representative of the people. The word is that he is cozy'ing himself up with AOC and the squad to push a progressive agenda.

Bene Jan 21, 2021 07:42 PM
Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds

I think it might be a lot easier to tell you where extreme socialism, and communism have NOT worked. Besides the usual suspects, a personal example you might find interesting: My Chilean relatives lived through communism and most people they knew fared better even under the dictator, Pinochet. Communism was instituted initially there by popular electoral revolution, brought about by a financial crisis, bad earthquake, drought, and unhappiness of the poor with the wealth of "upper echelons." Subsequently, Allende and the Communist Party outlawed rival political parties and purged right-wing conservatives from the military. The rise of communism also ended the reputation of Chile as South America's most stable state and one of the oldest democracies in the Americas alongside the United States, which had been a point of pride for the Chilean middle class. The Chilean middle class grew very sour on the Communist Party and the country's poor economy, which had been stronger before. Following a devastating famine in 1979, mass riots plagued Chile in the early 1980's and right-wing guerrilla movements as well as mainstream opposition began to emerge. Most economists agree that Chile's lengthy economic depression in the 1960's was the result of an over accumulation in wealth that would have righted itself, and that the communist era set Chile a generation behind where it could have been economically otherwise.

Bene Jan 21, 2021 07:39 PM
Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds

I agree, we need more rigorous classes--including history. Historically, extreme government of any kind has caused problems and that goes for socialism as well. It is one thing to have social programs, and a degree of democratic socialism. Going to an extreme is not good for anyone but a few of the "party bosses." Communism, historically, has resulted in still the "one percent" taking it all, making everyone else equally miserable with few personal choices, low income, and government choosing where you live and where you work.

a-1611283638 Jan 21, 2021 06:47 PM
Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds

You don't know what socialism is. But for most of the world, it works very well, even to some extent here with Social security and Medicare. Ignorance of government is why we need more rigorous civics classes.

RHS Jan 21, 2021 04:58 PM
Santa Barbara Shortchanged of COVID-19 Relief Funds

Reading reports of this make me remember that liars can add. The bias of the accountants/bookkeepers who did this tally are stunning. We can never accomplish anything if we want a perfect solution. I am not an admirer of the governor but taking action is critical in these difficult times. Waiting for a parsing count of how the funds are spent and who did what is killing us. The places that were limited or denied reimbursement were aggressively fighting reasonable safety rules. They should not now complain that maybe they had a technical defense.

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