State and local governments started to breathe a little easier in March when President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. The law includes $350 billion in total funding for state, local and tribal governments, which have been battered by revenue losses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Governments can use the funding for a variety of purposes, including responding to or mitigating the pandemic or its negative economic impacts; providing government services to the extent of the locality’s reduction in revenue; and making necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure. Importantly, the funds can also be used over the next three years.
The temptation for many state and local governments might be to simply use the funds to plug budget gaps. While that will surely occur in many places across the country, the funding influx also presents an opportunity for state and local governments to modernize their IT infrastructure and government service delivery.
The pandemic exposed the fragility and cumbersomeness of certain legacy government applications, most notably unemployment insurance systems. However, it also highlighted the need for government agencies to transition a wide range of applications and services to mobile- and web-friendly apps that citizens can access remotely without having to schlep down to a government office.
To build on this moment and continue to deliver innovative services, agencies should invest in their cloud infrastructure, modern application development, and make sure their services are mobile-friendly and have elegant user experiences.
State and local governments have a unique opportunity right now to not just get back to where they were pre-pandemic but to build out the modern digital infrastructure that will support 21st-century government services. Citizens have grown to expect government to meet them where they are and when they want, and agencies should be working to meet those expectations.
Summarized from statetechmagazine.com