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State Finance Council approves $290 million in COVID-19 relief

(KWCH)
(KWCH)(WIBW)
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 4:34 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - The State Finance Council on Thursday unanimously approved $290 million in funds to assist Kansans with relief from the COVID-19 pandemic. The approved money is for public health, essential needs and services, and business resiliency and workforce development programs that the Executive Committee of the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce recommended.

“These funds will provide child supervision for parents with school-age children to ensure they can keep working, reduce evictions, and provide tools to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said. “I commend the SPARK taskforce and the State Finance Council, who crafted and approved these recommendations that will strongly support Kansans' health and keep our state on the path (to) economic recovery.”

A news release from Kelly’s office said the recommendations don’t immediately allocate all of the funds.

“Rather, the Office of Recovery will monitor demand for the funds from approved programs and submit additional allocations to the State Finance Council for approval.  Each program requires a minimum be invested in an area of emphasis, which includes COVID-19 testing, housing stability, and remote learning centers for school-age children,” a news release from Kelly’s office explains.

If the identified areas of emphasis don’t need more funding, remaining dollars in the reserve fund could then be used to assist programs previously approved by the finance council.

“It was important to the SPARK taskforce to ensure there was flexibility and to not overcommit funds too early and be unable to respond should needs shift again this fall,” SPARK Chairman Lyle Butler said. “I want to thank SFC for sharing this concern and supporting a dynamic approach that will serve Kansas well.”

Kelly’s office said the approved $290 million is for the third and final round of funding for the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the federal CARES Act. Previously, the finance council $400 million to Kansas counties in the first found of funding and $314 million for statewide priorities of public health, education, economic development, and connectivity in the second round.

“I want to thank both SPARK and the State Finance Council for providing the flexibility to deliver timely investments and ability to respond to shifting needs,” Recovery Office Executive Director Julie Lorenz said. "With flexibility comes an even greater need for transparency and accountability for how these funds are utilized and we remain committed to reporting our progress to SPARK, SFC, and Kansans so they can see how their tax dollars are being spent.”

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