JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Gov. Mike Parson said Friday he has established a working group to oversee spending of nearly $6 billion in federal COVID-19 stimulus funds.
Parson, speaking at his daily online COVID-19 briefing from the Capitol, said he has tapped State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick to head up the task force.
Parson said the signed the supplement budget including the funds on Friday after their passage in the state House and Senate this week.
Fitzpatrick is an appropriate choice as a small business owner and former legislator who plays a major role in managing state finances, Parson said.
You can watch a replay of the news conference in the media player below.
"We want to make sure every dollar counts for Missourians,' Parson said. "With the passage of this supplemental budget today I am establishing a working group to make suggestions on best use of this funding."
The group will also include members of the Office of Administration's budget and planning team and the governor's office, Parson said.
Fitzpatrick said identifying the best way to spend the $5.7 billion will benefit the state's citizens. He said his group will look for ways to reduce "costly red tape" while ensuring appropriate oversight of the spending.
Included in the federal funds is $1 billion to local governments for COVID-19 recovery/relief efforts, $1.5 billion to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and nearly $900 million to the State Emergency Management Agency.
Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said the state continues to receive shipments of personal protective equipment for medical workers and first responders. Those items are then distributed to local agencies.
Karsten said a shipment of 3.5 million additional surgical masks is expected next week.
Two Christian clergy members gave messages during Parson's online news conference to mark Good Friday and Easter.
The state health department said Friday afternoon that more than 200 people in the state tested positive for COVID-19 since Thursday. Health officials said at least 3,799 cases of coronavirus have been reported since the pandemic started.