Senator Utke supports surprise release of COVID CARES act funding to local governments

(St. Paul) – Today Governor Walz announced he would distribute the full $841 million in federal CARES funding to local entities. The distribution is according to the approved compromise legislation the Senate and House agreed to in the special session. 

“This money will hugely benefit our district in the near future, so I’m glad the governor decided to distribute the full $841 million to local units of government, instead of sticking with his original plan of $667 million,” said Senator Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids). “That being said, we could have passed and implemented this plan last Saturday morning, if it were not for the governor’s perplexing resistance and interference.”

The compromise agreement distributed the local government funding fairly to Minnesota counties, cities, and towns based on a formula using their population. The Senate passed the agreed-upon legislation with nearly unanimous support during the special session. The legislation brought transparency and fairness to the distribution since the federal funds were not subject to legislative approval and could be spent unilaterally by Walz. 

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.