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Beshear announces between $200-$335 million in CARES Act funding to address Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Loan
Speaking at his daily press briefing on Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear announced that at least $200 million in funding provided by the Federal CARES Act (passed earlier in 2020) will be dedicated to address a loan the state obtained from the Federal government to address a shortfall in the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The Governor said the CARES Act funding could be as much as $335 million to repay the loan of more than $800 million the state was approved for in June.
To provide more financial relief to struggling restaurants and bars, Beshear also announced the state will waive alcoholic beverage license renewal fees for a year. For those businesses who haven’t paid these fees yet, they won’t have to until 2021, and for those who’ve already paid this year, their fees will be waived next year.
“The goal is to provide some economic relief” to bars, restaurants and temporary venues “that have had to close or reduce capacity or change their hours during [the pandemic],” Beshear said.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce had been calling for CARES Act funds to address this issue to help limit additional expenses on Kentucky businesses, most of which are still struggling with the impacts of the pandemic.
“The Kentucky Chamber, along with a broad coalition of business and legislative leaders, have been working with Governor Beshear and his administration over the last months to encourage CARES Act funding to help our state’s ailing Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. We thank the Governor for realizing the burden of repaying the Trust Fund falls solely on Kentucky’s employers. This significant contribution will help as we continue our economic recovery and get our citizens back to work,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts.
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, who had also been calling on Governor Beshear to address the Unemployment Insurance shortfall with CARES Act funding, also expressed his satisfaction with the move by Beshear.
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“We appreciate the governor hearing us, along with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, in our urgent request to help stabilize the Unemployment Insurance Fund with a portion of the Federal CARES Act funding,” Stivers said. “We stand ready to continue the conversation on Unemployment Insurance and changes to state law to minimize the cost to Kentucky businesses while protecting this safety net for employees. We urge the governor to place additional funds into the Unemployment Insurance Trust should they be available.”
In addition to the $200-$335 million announced for Unemployment Insurance, Beshear announced other streams of dedicated funding across state government in areas of testing, local city and county governments, health departments, education, and caring for long-term care residents, among other areas.