Emergency Commission allocates more CARES act money | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Emergency Commission allocates more CARES act money

Aug 4, 2020

North Dakota’s Emergency Commission has approved the spending plan for another $320 million from the federal CARES Act – money for COVID-19 response and recovery.

The state received $1.25 billion from the CARES Act.

Of the $320 million, $59 million will be going to political subdivisions.

The money would first go toward law enforcement. But Gov. Doug Burgum said if the local government has already paid for law enforcement, then it becomes a “block grant.”

"With the money they saved, they can use it to pay for whatever else they choose to in their budget, including keeping property taxes down," Burgum said.

Job Service North Dakota received another $100 million to replenish the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. The pandemic caused a number of people to lose their jobs, putting pressure on that trust fund.

Job Service North Dakota Executive Director Bryan Klipfel had said back in May that the fund may need in excess of $500 million because of the unemployment rate.

"Fortunately, the economy is coming back a little but, and that helps," Klipfel told the  Commission. "I think our total request is going to be $410 million."

Klipfel said the state’s unemployment rate in June was 6.3 percent. He said that’s still a lot higher than it was last year, but the state is doing better than other states.

"We should have enough, so we shouldn't have to raise taxes on employers," Klipfel said.

The plan must still be okayed by the Legislature’s Budget Section. That committee meets in September.

Here are some of the other allocations:

  • $23.3 million for the Office of the Adjutant General for support of statewide testing sites and other expenses.
  • $17.4 million for the North Dakota University System, including $13.6 million for HVAC modifications to improve air quality in campus buildings and $1 million for personal protective equipment, thermometers and other protective supplies.
  • $13.3 million for the Department of Human Services, including $12 million to continue to the Childcare Emergency Operations Grant through December.
  • $5 million for tribal colleges, trade schools and private colleges.
  • $5.2 million for other state agencies, including $2 million through the Department of Agriculture to support food bank programs.