What would the COVID-19 relief bill mean for Kansas? $34 million would come to Shawnee County.
As Congress moves forward with a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, Kansas is in line for a significant windfall.
While the final form may change as it is considered by the U.S. Senate, the state is currently set to get $1.6 billion in funding from the sweeping aid bill. Unlike money from the CARES Act last spring, the state can use the funds to directly replace the revenue it has lost due to the pandemic.
In addition, Kansas counties and cities are in line to get funds of their own — $1.1 billion, as the bill is currently written.
Shawnee County is set to get $34.3 million. For Reno County, that number is $12 million, and for Crawford County, it is $8 million. Ford, Finney and Harvey counties are set to get $7 million, while Butler County is in line to get nearly $13 million.
The state's largest cities get funding directly under the bill. In Topeka, that translates to $43 million in funding. For Leavenworth, that number is $8 million. The largest cities in the state, Wichita and Kansas City, Kan., are set to get $67 million and $53 million, respectively.
Smaller municipalities will also get funds. Pittsburg, for example, will receive $4.4 million under the bill, Hays will get $4.6 million and Dodge City $6.5 million. Greensburg, meanwhile, will get $175,000.
Not everyone is thrilled about the proposed bill. Republicans argue that the funds are unnecessary and will primarily be used to support large, liberal states, with New York and California in line for hundreds of billions of dollars in aid.
"As a result of this horribly misguided action, Kansas taxpayers will be forced to bail out liberal states who severely mismanaged their own budgets even before the pandemic began – this is deeply wrong," U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner, R-Kan., said in a statement about the bill.
Gov. Laura Kelly has argued the state should be getting more relief, saying that the formula Congress is using is hurting states, like Kansas, which have lower unemployment rates.
Still, Democrats have underscored the need for the aid, even in states like Kansas.
"We’re still facing a lot of unknowns, even though we’ve been at this for a year because of the pandemic," said State Treasurer Lynn Rogers. "Anyone who says differently is mistaken."