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In a press briefing on February 4, Governor Roy Cooper outlined a plan for allocating federal COVID-19 relief funds for immediate needs and investing state resources to help North Carolina communities build back as the state turns the corner on the pandemic.
“North Carolinians have stood strong during this pandemic and we are ready to move our state forward. The past year has tested all of us but we must work together on a focused, responsible plan to help families and businesses survive and grow strong while we bolster our economy and health care system and make sure students and teachers are in classrooms ready to learn. We can emerge from these challenging times stronger than ever,” said Governor Cooper.
The Governor’s early plan calls for investing federal stimulus funds along with some state resources for immediate critical needs. Governor Cooper’s plan would invest the state’s share of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which was signed into law Dec. 27. The federal appropriation totaled more than $4 billion for North Carolina. A fuller proposed biennial budget will be presented later in the legislative session.
The new federal funding is strictly proscribed, and with General Assembly appropriation will provide vital COVID relief such as vaccines, more supplies to slow the virus spread, help for rent and utility bills, and more funding to put food on the table. Federal funds will address:
In addition to the federal allocation plan, the Governor recommends investing $695 million from the state’s General Fund to address other immediate needs. Despite the pandemic, North Carolina’s budget availability remains strong, with more than $4 billion in unreserved cash in the General Fund. Among the needs facing North Carolina businesses and people, the Governor recommends addressing:
“I appreciate the work of legislators to quickly pass vital relief as the state responded to the pandemic last year and I believe we can work together to get the job done again. Our communities and people face serious challenges and we must come together to identify areas of common ground and help our people beat the pandemic and thrive once again,” said Governor Cooper.