Battle lines are being drawn over more than $800 million sent from the federal government for local governments struggling with a dearth of tax dollars during the pandemic.
A group of GOP lawmakers have amended a bill so that they can have some input on how the money is spent - but the Governor says that will delay getting money to the local governments it was intended to help.
Our media parters at The Advocate wrote that GOP lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee proposed their own approach for using the dollars. They raised objections that the Democratic governor charted plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in federal virus aid without engaging the House and Senate.
"We wanted as a body to have some input and opportunity to participate in the process," said Appropriations Chairman Jerome "Zee" Zeringue, a Houma Republican, who inserted spending plans for the federal aid into a Senate-backed budget bill.
The newspaper reports that the legislative plan would carve out $200 million for small business grants and leave the remaining $600 million-plus for local government expenses related to the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. The disbursement to local agencies — such as sheriff's offices, city councils, school districts and more — would flow through a different program than Edwards planned.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, the governor's chief budget adviser, said the proposal advancing in the House would delay the state's ability to get relief aid to local agencies, The Advocate reports.
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