Tennessee is considering giving over $40 million in additional COVID relief funds to businesses, as the state’s economy continues to recover.
The Financial Accountability Stimulus Group proposed utilizing the funds from the federal government, enabled by this year’s COVID-19 relief package. The goal of the funds is to increase the size of payouts businesses can receive for their losses throughout the pandemic.
“One of the things that we have worked really hard to do during the pandemic is to make sure that livelihoods are maintained, and the best way to do that is to make sure that the companies that Tennesseans work for are able to continue to operate,” Governor Bill Lee told a group of reporters on Wednesday.
Tennessee has already dished out $73 million to around 3,200 businesses who were negatively impacted. The added money would expand the availability of the relief in addition to the possible amount awarded to an individual business. For example, the additional funding would allow the specific amount awarded per business from $30,000 to $100,000.
Tennessee officials have also requested roughly $1 billion for water and sewer projects, also using funds from the coronavirus relief package.
President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan — dubbed the “American Rescue Plan” — has flooded state and local governments with extra funds. However, many states have reported a surplus in revenue even without the added federal aide. Therefore, many critics argue the funds were not needed.
In fact, some leaders have used funds awarded to their state to encourage individuals to get the coronavirus vaccine. Governor Mike DeWine used the taxpayer funds to establish a lottery-style giveaway. The campaign entitled “Vax-A-Million” will give away $1 million to 5 different individuals who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Further, he is giving away college scholarships to children aged 12 to 17.
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