BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Governor John Bel Edwards has big plans to spend $1.6 billion dollars in coronavirus relief that will stimulate infrastructure, the unemployment trust fund and sewerage and water.
Thursday, the Governor unveiled the plan which is only half of the $3.2 billion the state expects to receive from the American Rescue Plan.
The Governor said, the proposals will help Louisiana recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and restore progress.
Before the pandemic, the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund had a billion-dollar surplus and now, it sits in the red.
Under his plan, $400 million dollars will be used to replenish the IU trust fund and another $230 million will be allocated to unemployment Insurance loan payment.
“As I said before, this has to be a priority in order to restore the solvency of the UI trust fund and to protect employers,” said Edwards.
Zippy’s Burritos, Tacos and More owner Neal Hendrix said this is good news as businesses try to recover.
“It’s a tougher market for a lot of reasons,” said Hendrix.
The plan also includes allocations to infrastructure and Louisiana ports in an effort to boost the economy.
“Make sure that we move Louisiana forward and out of this pandemic and recover all of the momentum that we had a little over a year ago,” said Edwards.
$125 million will also go to local convention and visitors bureau and another $20 million for the Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism.
The second half of the funds are expected to be distributed over the next few years.
Governor Edwards’ priorities for the first $1.6 billion in funding are:
- Shoring up the Unemployment Trust Fund – $400 million
- Unemployment Insurance loan payment – $230 million
- Infrastructure – $400 million
- Water and Sewer Systems – $300 million
- Tourism and Convention and Visitors Bureaus – $125 million
- Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism – $20 million
- Louisiana Ports – $50 million