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Gov. Ricketts outlines state's plan for coronavirus relief funds

Governor Pete Ricketts speaks at the podium during Thursday's press briefing.
Governor Pete Ricketts speaks at the podium during Thursday's press briefing.(KSNB)
Published: May. 27, 2020 at 7:21 PM CDT
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Governor Pete Ricketts announced the state has received $1.25 billion through the CARES Act in coronavirus relief funds. Of that total, $166 million is designated for Douglas County, leaving the remaining $1.084 billion to the rest of the state.

Gov. Ricketts outlined main categories for funding including small businesses, livestock production, community institutions, state and local governments, Nebraska's Unemployment Trust Fund, and potential General Fund and flexibility.

$330 million is set aside for small businesses and livestock production. Small businesses with less than 50 employees and livestock producers with less than 10 employees can apply for up to a $12,000 grant.

Gov. Ricketts said, "It is also our responsibility to ensure that it is spent appropriately for the citizens of Nebraska and that we're good stewards of those dollars."

State and local governments will get $180 million in total: $80 million for the state government and $100 million for local. Both state and local are allowed to use the money to buy PPE, sanitizing products, and other necessary COVID-19 medical supplies. Local governments will need to open county offices and courthouses by June 8 to receive funding.

"We would expect this to cover our expenses for the end of the year," Gov. Ricketts said. "That's why I said we'll have to wait and see when those local governments start supplying what their expenses are."

The Unemployment Fund and General Fund budget has $427 million set aside for it. Gov. Ricketts said the state is still considering how it'll be used. As of now, it can't be used to make up for lost state revenue. There is pending COVID-19 legislation that could change that.

Nebraska has received roughly $10.8 million from federal relief programs and economic impact payments.

The state's biggest funding source has been to the Payment Protection Program delegating $6.4 billion. $150 million has gone to education.

The money is specifically for coronavirus relief. The state will have to reimburse the federal government if used elsewhere. Gov. Ricketts said all money must be used by December 30.

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