June 23, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Gov. Kelly withholds federal COVID funds from localities

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The National League of Cities reported this week that Kansas is one of thirty-two states that are withholding federal COVID funding from most municipal governments, “with no indication when, or if, funds will ever be made available.”

Congressman Ron Estes (R-Kansas)

A press release from Congressman Ron Estes (R-Kansas) says he called on the Kelly administration Wednesday to disburse federal funds intended for cities, counties, and other entities.

“Kansas communities have been negatively impacted by COVID-19-related health and economic challenges, which is why Congress and the federal government have provided much-needed relief for states, localities, workers, small businesses and families,” said Rep. Estes. “The state of Kansas has received $1.25 billion in direct funding from the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for state, territorial, local, and tribal governments. I am very concerned that data compiled by the National League of Cities indicates that Kansas is withholding CRF funds from local governments. For months, my staff and I have communicated with the governor’s office on behalf of hardworking Kansans and our local governments. The legislative intent of the CARES Act was to provide timely and targeted relief, but sitting on these funds in Topeka does not help the communities scattered throughout the Sunflower State, especially those in rural areas.”

Governor Kelly’s office has not issued any statements pertaining to the delay.

Estes’ press release also lists federal support flowing to Kansas.

“The state of Kansas has received $1.25 billion specifically for state, territorial, local and tribal governments. Kansans have also received $1,980,223,913 in Economic Impact Payments as of May 8. During the first and second rounds of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $5,162,470,043 has been approved for 47,351 Kansas small businesses in the form of forgivable loans as of May 8.

“On March 27, Unemployment Insurance (UI) was increased by $600 a week and eligibility was extended to self-employed individuals. Additionally, hospitals received $325 million in aid, community health centers received $15 million in grants, the state of Kansas received $81 million for testing, public universities received $49 million from the Higher Education Relief Fund, the Kansas Department of Labor (KSDOL) received $9.5 million for administrative costs, and Medicaid funding to Kansas was increased by $220 million.”

The feds extended eligibility for the extra $600 in unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals on March 27, but the Kelly administration didn’t permit them to begin applying until May 12.

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