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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Idaho To Receive $1.9 Billion Share Of Federal COVID-19 Relief Package

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Gov. Brad Little is reluctantly accepting nearly $1.9 billion in federal COVID relief money, with much of it to be used towards one-time, long-term projects.

Little started his press conference Thursday by calling the $1.9 trillion federal plan “irresponsible.”

“The plan is being mortgaged on our children and grandchildren’s future,” he said.

But Little said it’d be wrong to not accept Idaho’s share of the money.

“Rejecting the funds would mean Idaho gives up our say on how our allocated share gets spent,” he said. “That is unacceptable.”

Little said states that still have restrictions on businesses getting more money than Idaho, specifically pointing to California, Illinois and New York.

“You’re going to reward bad behavior and you’re going to disincentivize good behavior. I just worry about the message it sends to citizens and to leaders in the future about not being responsible as we have been in Idaho,” he said.

Idaho has had one of the highest per-capita rates of cases of COVID-19 in the country throughout the pandemic and more deaths per capita than Washington and Oregon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Historically, the state also receives more federal money per capita than it sends to Washington, D.C.

An analysis by the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York found Idaho residents took in $1.51 per capita for every dollar the federal government collected in FY 2019. Californians got $0.99 per dollar sent to the feds, while New Yorkers got $0.91. Illinois took in $1.03.

Idaho’s roughly $1.9 billion share of the federal relief package breaks down to:

·        $1.18 billion to the state for the coronavirus response, as well as infrastructure projects dealing with water, sewer and broadband internet

·        $126 million for capital projects

·        $347 million to counties

·        $125 million for Idaho’s largest cities: Boise, Caldwell, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Meridian, Nampa, Pocatello and Twin Falls

·        $104 million to be split among remaining cities based on population

Another nearly $440 million will also go to local school districts, which must be allocated within 60 days of receiving it.

State officials said the federal government docked $250 million that Idaho could’ve received due to its low unemployment rate and economic success during the pandemic.

Much of the money won’t get spent immediately. The state has until the end of 2024 to use it.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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