Testing, housing, childcare targeted in latest CARES Act distributions

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas lawmakers have decided how to spend more than $200 million of coronavirus relief money. This is the third round of federal CARES Act funding that has been distributed.

The State Finance Council is focusing on public health, essential services, and stabilizing the workforce in this round of funding.

The state is spending $50 million to increase the amount of testing. $35 million will be spent on housing to help prevent people from being evicted and to help landlords. $40 million is headed to help with childcare.

Other large sums include $30 million for the department of labor and $30 million for continuity of operations.

This is the latest round of the $1.03 billion the federal government sent to Kansas. More than $700 million had already been approved for county governments, economic development, education, connectivity, and other health efforts.

The state’s spark task force has been recommending what to do with the money. The only big point of disagreement was when lawmakers voted to not give unemployed Kansans an additional $100 a week.

“Overall I’ve been pretty pleased on how it’s spent, I think it’s going to help people,” said House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer. It’s helped businesses that are having problems, it’s helped our education system, our colleges and our schools to be able to operate, and now it’ll help people with childcare. I think it’s important, I think what we’ve done is pretty good overall.”

The State Finance Council has heard recommendations from the task force which is made up lawmakers and a variety of industry leaders.

“Having that input from a broad group of people has been helpful,” Sawyer said.

The state has said the remaining $75 million will be placed into the three categories of public health, essential services, and business resiliency and workforce. Lawmakers and the governor will decide how to spend that money at a later date. All CARES Act funding has to be spent by the end of the year.

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