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State to receive $1.9 billion of pandemic aid

Alabama’s progression from the economic effects of the pandemic regulations continues to unfold.

Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement in response to the passing of the Fiscal Year 2020 General Fund Supplemental Appropriations Bill on May 14.

The bill is designed with the goal of helping provide pandemic relief.

“Unlike other emergency relief bills that have been passed by Congress during recent disasters, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by President Trump on March 27 with the clear intent of reimbursing only those expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ivey said.

The funding from the bill is required to be spent and not just allocated. If the money is not spent by Dec. 30, it will go back into the U.S. Treasury.

Alabama will receive a little more than $1.9 billion in CARES Act aid.

“That’s a lot of money for sure, and if spent wisely, it could very well help us pay for many legitimate expenses incurred by cities, counties and the state, nursing homes and hospitals, schools and colleges, and other worthy expenditures that are directly connected to COVID-19,” Ivey said.

According to Ivey, she sent a letter to each member of the legislature May 14 to inform them of her intention to sign both the general fund budget and education trust fund budget for the 2021 fiscal year. She also plans to propose an executive amendment to ensure that the CARES Act funds are immediately put to use for the purposes Congress and the president intended.

“I have known many in the legislature for a long time and have built many lasting, true friendships,” Ivey said. “Like any working relationship, you will have occasional disagreements. Tension can be a good thing if you allow it to birth good ideas; we must not allow ego or personal agendas to outweigh the public good. My firm opinion remains that most members of the Legislature want to do the right thing, while making certain this money helps the people of Alabama who have been harmed by this disease.”

At the time of the governor’s address on May 14, she stated that about 10,700 people have currently tested positive, and the disease has led to 450 deaths in the past two months in Alabama.

The pandemic’s economic impact within the state has led to roughly 450,000 people filing for unemployment compensation, which surpasses the total from the last two years combined.

“While no one could have predicted COVID-19, it is easy to conclude this pandemic has touched every aspect of our daily lives,” Ivey said. “I look forward to working with the legislature in the days ahead.”