Georgia calls for extension of deadline for federal aid

(The Center Square) – Members of a Georgian legislative panel said on Friday they plan to push for a second extension of the deadline for the entities to seek federal aid.

Georgia must divide more than $ 8.1 billion in direct aid from the latest COVID-19 relief plan. The state accepts funding requests of more than $ 4.8 billion. State government entities, local governments, businesses and nonprofits have until Oct. 31 to apply for help.

Senator Donzella James, D-Atlanta, said some governments and organizations may miss the deadline.

“I hope to see a second window for nominations as many people were unable to meet the Oct. 31 deadline,” James said Friday at the Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee meeting. “I hope we can see that everyone is getting the help they need and deserve.

The latest federal COVID-19 relief plan, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), was enacted in March by President Joe Biden. The $ 1.9 trillion package includes roughly $ 17 billion for Georgia. It has earmarked funds for tax breaks for state and local governments, education, housing, food aid and additional funds for grant programs. The committee has held a series of public hearings since March to allow Georgians to voice their concerns and recommendations regarding funding.

Georgians initially had 30 days to ask for help. However, Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget office has extended the deadline from late August to the end of this month.

Kemp created three committees in June to decide how to spend some of the aid. Legislative committees are to consider requests to determine how to use $ 300 million for broadband infrastructure, $ 200 million for water and sewer infrastructure, and $ 320 million to restore negative economic impacts on the state.

The aid will be paid in two installments and will cover expenses from March to the end of 2026, but the state has until December 31, 2024 to allocate the full funds. James said business leaders have been pushing for the deadline to be changed. Representatives for U.S. Representative Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Said on Friday they would push for a later deadline at the federal level.

“We want to know that if this continues [2024], then we should be able to make sure that there is at least a second or a third level of applicants to come in, ”said James.

The committee will meet later and vote on a formal request for an extension.

By Nyamekye Daniel | The central square

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