State of Alaska receives $1.25B in federal COVID-19 relief
The State of Alaska has officially received
but questions are still being raised about how it can be spent.
On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy made a formal request for the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee to begin spending the funds before the end of the month:
- $562.5 million for local communities. Ranges from $75,000 to the smallest villages, up to $156 million for Anchorage
- $300 million to bolster existing loan programs to help fund small businesses
- $337.5 million for coronavirus-related health care costs
- $50 million for nonprofits to help, among other things, food banks and emergency shelters
The legislature’s top attorney has suggested that lawmakers
to ensure all the appropriations are legal and above board.
Anchorage Democratic Rep. Chris Tuck, the co-chair of LB&A, says the Revised Program Legislative (RPL) process requested by the governor may not be sufficient. The concern is that specific appropriations may need to be approved by the Legislature or Alaska could be made to pay the federal government back.
“You can’t just fund whatever you want to fund,” Tuck said. “We have to be very careful that we’re following the guidelines as set out by the federal government.”
The governor had intended to use federal aid to replace a
he made to the operating budget for the next fiscal year. Some of the cuts Dunleavy made appear set to stand.
The governor’s office released a statement Wednesday afternoon: