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State applies for new COVID relief money from 'American Recovery Act'


North Dakota’s budget director says he has applied for the state’s share of federal money from the “American Recovery Act.”

But Joe Morrissette doesn’t yet know if the state will get the entire $1 billion in one chunk – or half now, and half next year.

Morrissette said the allocation is based on the state’s unemployment rate from February 2020 to March 2021. He said it had to be more than two percent higher, to get the money all at once.

Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks)

"Depending on the measure you use, it looks like ours is either exactly 2%, if you use the non-seasonally adjusted rate, or 2.1% if you use the seasonally-adjusted rate," Morrissette said. "In the end, the state is going to receive the entire allocation -- it's just a timing question, as to whether it comes in one piece or two."

Legislative leaders are also rethinking whether they have to have a special session this year to spend the money.

"The federal government has said that the money does not have to be spent, only appropriated, by Dec. 2024, which is after the next regular Legislative session (in 2023)," said Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks), chairman of the Legislative Management Committee.

Holmberg said that is still being discussed. And he says urgent matters may change that thinking.

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