VI News Staff 4 months ago
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$25M in Retro Funds Transferred in September, Only $2.5M Paid by December Deadline

Senators who said they committed to $25 million in retroactive wage payments based on assurances from the government that the money would be available were dismayed to hear Friday that only $2.5 million had been paid by the Dec. 31, 2023 deadline while the rest was used to cover government payroll.

Testimony from the government’s financial team indicated that a revenue shortfall in fiscal year 2023 – approximately $83 million under FY 2022, according to Office of Management and Budget Director Jenifer O’Neal – was backfilled by $48 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Of that, approximately $22 million was supposed to bridge the gap, while the remainder was earmarked for the retro, according to senators.

In her testimony during a marathon six-hour hearing – four of which were dedicated to government finances – O’Neal said the government’s total FY 2023 budget appropriation was $1,037,117,327. OMB released allotments in the amount of $1,013,848,645, leaving

$23,268,683 unallotted. In comparison to revenues, the amount released ($1.013 billion) exceeded revenues collected by $23.4 million. However, the difference between the revenues collected and the FY 2023 appropriations was $46.7 million, she said.

Based on “the math,” Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory, who chaired Friday’s hearing, said she still didn’t understand why the retro commitment wasn’t paid since O’Neal explained it was accounted for in the $48 million ARPA funds. But, after some drilling down from Sen. Francis-Heyliger, in which O’Neal said the money was sent to Finance on Sept. 27, Frett-Gregory explained bluntly, “They used the money for other things, and you all just need to say it.”


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