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Reeves: Education, small businesses among top priorities in $1.25B relief fund

Updated: Apr. 29, 2020 at 9:17 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You’ve heard a lot about how Mississippi is slowly reopening parts of the state’s economy. But the economic damage has already been done.

The CARES Act is the coronavirus relief fund set up at the federal level. Tuesday, Governor Reeves gave us a glimpse of how that money may be distributed in the Magnolia State.

Governor Reeves says transparency will be key in the way the CARES Act money is divvied up. As far as where the $1.25 billion will go, he has several possibilities. The first deals with education... knowing that distance learning could become a necessity again in the future.

“Too many families are sharing one outdated computer or maybe don’t have one at all," said Reeves. “They may not have internet access to connect to class. I plan to utilize CARES act funds to help fix that. And it will be a top priority. Support for teachers, schools and especially parents will be a critical part of our recovery.”

He’d also like to see some money directed to skills training.

“We want every Mississippian to earn more money," explained Governor Reeves. “I want to help those workers who have carried the financial burden of the coronavirus response. The best way to do that is to help you get more tools to earn a higher wage.”

Small businesses have had some resources but Reeves is hoping to further extend that lifeline.

“I hope to use some of these funds to help them stay on their feet, keep their workers on their roles, and weather this storm" he added.

Other money may be used to help local governments, hospitals and first responders.

“It’s my job to make sure that this federal emergency money gets in the right hands," described Reeves. "Mississippi’s past practices have proven that strict compliance checks are the best way to make sure that happens. We should have that settled by early next week and then we can begin the process of utilizing these funds.”

The Governor says there will be a competitive bidding process for a third party team with experience to ensure this money is spent in a proper way--similar to what was done after Katrina.

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