Tracking spending

Ohioans wondering what has happened to the approximately $5.4 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money that came flooding into Ohio now have a new way to keep track.

Advocates for Ohio’s Future and the Ohio Poverty Law Center launched an Ohio ARPA Tracker — ohiopovertylawcenter.org/ohio-arpa-tracker — that breaks down how the money is being spent.

It comes as a pleasant surprise that, according to a report by Public News Service, the money appears to have been spent in a truly helpful manner.

“We’ve seen dollars go towards the pediatric hospitals. We’ve seen dollars be invested into state parks and trails and recreation and water and sewer projects,” said Kelsey Bergfeld, director of Advocates for Ohio’s Future.

According to the report, nearly $1.5 billion was spent to replenish the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Trust fund. All of those seem like good and justifiable uses for public money.

But there is still about $2 billion left.

As we get further away from the crisis that prompted this round of spending, our economy remains sluggish at best, and is likely headed for tougher times. That could create the kind of environment in which it becomes easier for bureaucrats to get creative in spending taxpayer dollars.

It is encouraging to know that, if they consider doing so, there is a tool in place that could make them think better of it.


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