Providing Oversight for Federal COVID-19 Funding

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Senate passed legislation Monday, SF 4486, establishing a COVID Relief Account for federal funding from the CARES Act, providing an opportunity for the legislature to conduct oversight on how this money is disbursed throughout the state.

“The legislature has a role to play in providing oversight on the approximately $2 billion in federal funding we have received and in making sure our communities are being reimbursed for their response,” said Senator Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth). “As Duluth and St. Louis County face strains on their respective budgets responding to COVID-19, we must move quickly to help ensure that they are reimbursed for their expenses.”

Once the money is expended MMB will close the account. This proposal is supposed to reflect the development of a similar account that was developed in 2009 for federal stimulus money awarded to Minnesota as a result of the housing crisis.

The Department of Treasury posted on its website that, “The CARES Act requires that the payments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund only be used to cover expenses that:

  • are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19);
  • were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government; and
  • are incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on December 30, 2020.

In total, Minnesota is estimated to receive $2.187 billion from the CARES Act for the state’s COVID response.

Erik Simonson represents District 7 in northeastern Minnesota.

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