How to use American Rescue Plan funds to buy licensing software
In response to the COVID pandemic, Congress directed hundreds of billions of dollars toward state governments through the American Rescue Plan Act. The funding offers regulatory agencies saddled with outdated systems – and those with no systems at all – a chance to procure software that saves labor, reduces data-entry errors and eliminates paper.
What can licensing agencies use American Rescue Plan funds for?
The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), a part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), offers $350 billion in COVID-related aid to state, local, territorial and tribal governments in the United States, with a portion of that for capital projects—including technology upgrades.
The United States Department of the Treasury’s Final Rule for the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds outlines what projects qualify for these ARPA technology funds; the Final Rule offers the following project parameters:
“Technology infrastructure resources to improve access to and the user-experience of government information technology systems, including upgrades to hardware and software as well as improvements to public-facing websites or to data management systems, to increase public access and improve public delivery of government programs and services (including in the judicial, legislative, or executive branches).”
How states plan to spend their funds on licensing and IT
An article in StateScoop, explains the current and future ways states plan to spend their funds on IT. New Hampshire, for example, allocated $37.3 million to upgrading information technology, according to the New Hampshire Bulletin on February 18. Missouri’s Plan for American Rescue Plan Act describes a plan for digital modernization and better government, including allocating $21 million for a licensure e-licensing system. Their plan, posted on February 18, describes this as: “replacing the existing licensure system at the Department of Commerce and Insurance with software that preserves existing business functionality and provides new functionality for the Division of Professional Registration.”
How to request funding
According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, eligible state, territorial, metropolitan city, county, and Tribal governments request Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds through the Treasury Submission Portal.
Who to contact
For general questions about the program, the U.S. Department of the Treasury website directs users to send an email to: SLFRP@treasury.gov.