Rescue plan

Gordon reveals how state will use $ 500 million in US bailout funds

Governor Mark Gordon

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
(this story originally appeared on Cowboy State Daily)

Governor Mark Gordon on Thursday unveiled his proposals for the American Rescue Plan Act’s $ 500 million first round of funding.

In a letter to the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee, Gordon recommended spending just under $ 500 million in funds for a range of programs and investments, with the remaining funds to be set aside for savings. or used for future ideas.

Wyoming will ultimately receive more than $ 1 billion directly from the ARP.

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Gordon noted that nearly $ 4 billion in applications had been submitted for consideration, and some of these proposals he offered funding from other sources, such as money included in the federal infrastructure bill. recently approved.

Wyoming received $ 534 million of the $ 1.68 billion in ARPA funding in May and is expected to receive a second payment of the same amount in 2022.

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“This sorting of proposals was not done casually, but in a thoughtful manner in accordance with the principles laid out at the start of this effort to preserve opportunity and foster long-term resilience,” Gordon wrote. “In many cases we have reduced the initial request to an amount that could be used as a preliminary investment, as I think it is prudent to analyze the effectiveness of a program or proposal before committing. extra dollars. “

Among other things, Gordon recommended placing $ 100 million in the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account (LSRA) to be used as matching funds for a wide range of energy-related projects.

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The other elements included in the governor’s proposal are:

  • $ 55 million for the next phases of the Wyoming Innovation Partnership to help develop the state’s workforce and economy.
  • $ 75 million to the Wyoming Wildlife Trust Fund, which would fully fund the Trust and save general funds for years to come.
  • $ 50 million for local community support projects
  • $ 40 million for grants to improve outdoor recreation in Wyoming and help communities continue building new outdoor recreation products and infrastructure
  • $ 30 million for economic development efforts to support mining, agriculture and entrepreneurship.
  • $ 10 million for the Cultural Trust Fund to promote the arts and historic preservation in Wyoming.
  • $ 10 million to match federal funds for wildlife and highway crossing projects.
  • $ 10 million to expand health and social service workforce stabilization efforts to include providers who care for vulnerable and at-risk populations

Gordon welcomed comments on the proposals, both from the legislature and the public.

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