By Rachel O’Brien Deputy Policy Editor, OpenTheBooks.com
Recently, President Joe Biden continued to tout the spending within the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). It passed in March 2021 with only Democrats voting for it. Every Republican in Congress voted against it.
At the time of the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it best: “Republicans in Congress will vote no, but the Republican governors will take the dough.” Sure enough, republican governor Bill Lee took the money from Washington.
Buried within the 591-page bill was a $350 billion bailout for 50 states, tribal governments, U.S. territories, and more than 30,000 cities and counties.
Today, critics blame the massive largess in “Covid-aid” for spiking the inflation that’s running rampant in the country today.
Our auditors at OpenTheBooks mapped the data to each of the 50 states and 30,000 localities across America. Click here to see how much taxpayer money Congress earmarked your hometown to receive from the COVID “relief” bill.
As a state, Tennessee received $3.8 billion from the bill. That’s as the state is looking at a $3.4 billion surplus next year, The Tennessean reported, a surplus that the state hasn’t seen since the 1980s when sales tax rates increased.
Here are units of local government that received the most.
The top five Tennessee counties receiving ARPA Covid-bailouts are Shelby County ($181.7 million); Davidson County ($134.6 million); Knox County ($91.2 million); Hamilton County ($71.3 million) and Rutherford County ($64.4 million).
The top five Nashville cities receiving the Covid-bailouts are Memphis ($168.3 million); Nashville ($132.5 million); Knoxville ($43.9 million); Chattanooga ($39.8 million); and Clarksville ($25.5 million).
Then, there are the wealthiest towns in Tennessee that received big bailouts.
Collierville ($13.7 million in ARPA funds), Brentwood ($11.5 million), Farragut ($6.4 million), Arlington ($3.2 million), Nolensville ($2.7 million) and Thompson’s Station ($1.8 million) are among the wealthiest cities, with median household incomes between $104,000 and $225,000.
Homes in Nolensville — the richest town in the state — go for between $235,000 and $11 million, with an average of $455,700.
In Brentwood, the second richest town —home to Dolly Parton, Amy Grant and Vince Gill and formerly Tim McGraw and Faith Hill— the median sale price of a house is $718,858.
Williamson County is the wealthiest in the state, with a median household income of $111,196, receiving $46.2 million in 2021 ARPA funds.
So why did Congress bail them out? And, why did Tennessee and the local governments take the money?
Across America, the 50 richest places received $100 million in ARPA funding. Those wealthy towns included Beverly Hills, California ($9 million), Key West, Florida ($10 million), the Hamptons ($8.6 million), and Greenwich, Connecticut ($20 million).
Learn more at OpenTheBooks.com.