The Minnesota Senate today approved compromise legislation creating a formula to fairly distribute the share federal COVID-19 assistance that can be used to help local governments. Gov. Tim Walz currently has the sole authority over the federal coronavirus aid, and concerns have been raised about both transparency and accountability in how the aid is distributed.
The bill provides significant funding for counties, cities, and towns and townships in Senate District 23, including:
- Blue Earth County: $8.23 million
- Faribault County: $1.73 million
- Jackson County: $1.26 million
- Le Sueur County: $3.46 million
- Martin County: $2.44 million
- Waseca County: $2.27 million
- Watonwan County: $1.36 million
This is a tremendous bill that will send important COVID assistance out to communities throughout Minnesota in a fair, equitable way,” said Senate Finance Chair Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center), who authored the bill. “I am incredibly proud of the work we did in the Senate creating this bipartisan bill, and I am humbled by the overwhelming support it received when we voted for it. The Constitution is very clear that it is the legislature’s job to appropriate money, not the governor’s – this is true regardless of who sits in the big chair. I sincerely hope Gov. Walz appreciates that important separation and signs this bill so that we can get this assistance out the door as quickly as possible.”
Minnesota received more than $2 billion from the federal government to help local governments, health professionals, and businesses fight COVID. That money went into an account called the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, so it could be quickly deployed to places it is needed most.
The compromise agreement distributes the local government portion of that funding – about $841 million – fairly to Minnesota counties, cities, and towns based on a formula using their population.