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Up to $65 million approved for increased COVID-19 testing, small business grants in Kansas

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — The State Finance Council (SFC) unanimously approved investing up to $45 million more in COVID-19 testing across Kansas and to provide $20 million more for small businesses.

In their Thursday meeting, leaders met to discuss how money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), which is part of the federal CARES Act, would be distributed.

After receiving proposals from public and private labs across the state, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment determined it could invest up to $95 million to implement its unified testing strategy.

“Today’s actions will bolster our Unified Testing Strategy and allow us to provide up to one million COVID-19 tests by the end of the year,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I want to thank the State Finance Council for supporting the health priorities of our state and increasing funds for small businesses, which are essential for our economic recovery.”

Previously, SFC had authorized $50 million for COVID-19 testing, and with today’s actions, the Office of Recovery will have the ability to invest up to $95 million in testing.

SFC approved an additional $20 million for small business grants. About $35 million has already been awarded in small business grants.

State Leaders say it was a move that was much needed.

“Now they’ve shifted some money around, which means more money available to help more small businesses,” says House Minority Leader, Tom Sawyer, “And even once that’s used up, any businesses that are left, the resolution that we passed, allows them to give even more money to the counties or cities that would like to get some help.” 

Additionally, SFC approved providing the Office of Recovery the authority to redistribute any unused funds among previously approved programs. The CRF requires funds to be used by the December 30, 2020 deadline.

The Office of Recovery oversees all the CRF programs and will shift dollars from program to program based on need, demand, and the ability to implement by the deadline.

“With only 39 working days remaining before December 30, we need a dynamic approach, and I want to thank State Finance Council for providing us the flexibility to deliver timely investments to Kansans,” Executive Director, Julie Lorenz, said. “We know our state’s needs exceed the funds available, and we’re committed to leveraging these dollars to help as many Kansans as we can.”

Approximately $25 million of the CRF remains in reserve. SFC will meet again next month to approve the final investments.

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