TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansans now have the opportunity to weigh in on the ongoing discussion regarding the best use for federal coronavirus relief funds that have been allocated to the state.
The relief funds come from the America Rescue Plan Act’s State Fiscal Recovery Funds and are currently being considered for a variety of public projects by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Executive Committee or SPARK. They are on the lookout for investment ideas from fellow Kansans who want to give their own opinions on how the funds should be spent.
“This money offers the opportunity to make strategic investments that will have long-term positive impacts on our state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “It is vital to the recovery efforts that we have input from Kansans across the state – everyone should have a seat at the table.”
Recommendations for the recovery funds will be presented to the State Finance Council by the SPARK committee. To access the online submission form for proposing a SPARK investment idea, click here.
“This is a historic opportunity for Kansans to have direct input in how these funds are utilized to benefit our state long term,” Senate President Masterson said. “I look forward to reviewing the investments ideas that our citizens submit and working with the Advisory Panels to identify the investments that will best position our state moving forward.”
The SPARK committee has the following guiding principles when making decisions about the use of the relief funds:
- Prioritize sustainable programs & investments through one-time use of funds vs. substantial expansion of existing services.
- Combine with/leverage local and agency funds to maximize use of discretionary funds.
- Foster long-term systemic impact for Kansans.
- Consider equitable opportunities and outcomes.
- Enable flexibility within investment strategies.
- Ensure results are measurable to enable tracking & transparency.
“The SPARK Executive Committee heard many great investment ideas from the citizens of Kansas at our regional meetings across the state,” House Speaker Ron Ryckman said. “The investment ideas submitted through this form will allow SPARK to further engage with the citizens of Kansas while determining investment priorities.”
Those who are interested in giving their thoughts on how the funds should be spent must complete the submission form by Feb. 16. Once the investment idea has been submitted it will be reviewed by the Advisory Panel members who may follow up with you at a later date.
Submission doesn’t guarantee assignment to or further consideration by an Advisory Panel and that additional information will not be reviewed unless requested. Those who want to submit their investment ideas are encouraged to familiarize themselves on allowable uses of SFRF. An overview of the Treasury Department’s Final Rule summarizing eligibility provisions for using SFRF can be found here, while the entire Final Rule is available here.
A FAQ document on the submission form can be found here. For any other questions on completing the submission form, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SPARK committee consists of seven members including Lieutenant Governor David Toland. These members, along with four advisory panels, are responsible for deciding how the funds will be used. To find out more about the SPARK committee and its other members, click here.