MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan unveiled the plan to distribute $853 million in CARES Act money throughout the state of Minnesota as business continue to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the money, Walz says $841 million will be distributed throughout Minnesota’s counties and cities to support the local governments’ COVID-19 relief efforts.

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The remaining $12 million will end up being given to food shelves and food banks. There have been about 300,000 Minnesotans who have visited food shelves every month since the start of the pandemic back in late winter. This week, Minnesota officials said the state is projected to experience a hunger crisis not seen since the Great Depression.

“Access to nutritious food is a cornerstone of a safe and healthy life, and for too many Minnesotans, that need hasn’t gone away during this pandemic—it has increased. Using CARES Act funding to alleviate this need is one way we can directly improve the lives of Minnesotans most impacted by COVID-19. While the Legislature was not able to come to a final agreement to distribute this funding, their work was critical in determining the greatest needs across our state,” Flanagan said.

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As for the bulk of the funds, Walz says the Minnesota Department of Revenue will handle distributing the money to local governments, who will get a direct payment based on the following per capita formula that the legislature determined during their special session.

  • Counties with population under 500,000: $121.28 x county population
  • Cities with population over 200: $75.34 x city population
  • Organized towns with population over 5,000: $75.34 x organized town population
  • Towns with population over 200 and under 4,999: $25.00 x town population

Cities or towns with populations under 200 will have their distribution sent to their counties. Cities with populations under 200 will get $75.34 multiplied by the city population, and organized towns with populations under 200 will get $25 multiplied by the town population.

“As we work to support the health and safety of all Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also taking steps to build a stronger and more equitable economy,” Walz said. “This funding will bring much-needed relief to communities across the state as we continue to battle this pandemic together.”

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The state revenue department will begin distributing funds on a rolling bases next week.