As deadline approaches, unpaid Florida CARES Act funds prompts worries from leaders

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Time is running out for the CARES Act! States and counties have just six weeks to pay out funds provided by the massive coronavirus relief bill.

The language of the CARES Act legislation requires that any funds not paid out by Dec. 31, even if already earmarked for an assistance program, automatically go back to the federal government.

A large chunk of Florida’s share has yet to be paid out, prompting concerns that not everyone who still needs help will receive it.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Tampa, says Hillsborough County has already paid out $257 million in small business grants, rental and utility assistance and other relief programs created by the CARES Act. She couldn’t be more proud.

“It has been a lifesaver for families across Tampa and Hillsborough County,” she said.

But Castor is concerned about some of Florida’s smaller counties. She and several members of the state’s congressional delegation penned a letter urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to release all available relief funds as soon as possible.

Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties have more than half a million people, so they receive their CARES Act funds directly from the U.S. Treasury.

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