ATLANTA, Ga. (WRBL) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is requesting more funding to fight the coronavirus in the state.
On Wednesday, Gov. Kemp sent a letter to Speaker of the House David Ralston and Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, requesting $100 million to be drawn from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve (RSR) to combat the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, there are six cases of COVID-19 confirmed by the CDC in Georgia. Additionally, there are 16 more presumptive cases in the state.
“Our primary responsibility as state leaders must always be to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens,” says Gov. Kemp. “To that end, I appreciate your consideration in appropriating these much-needed funds to ensure that Georgia stands at the ready to protect the health of our people.”
The Revenue Shortfall Reserve is Georgia’s rainy day fund, meant to provide stability during economic downturns. The fund acts as a savings account for the state to cover expenses and maintain services when revenues decline unexpectedly.
COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
Gov. Kemp says he carefully weighed the decision to ask for the funds and the safety of citizens of the state must be the key priority. “I do not make the recommendation to draw from this account lightly,” says Gov. Kemp, “however, the spread of the coronavirus represents an immediate and unforeseen threat to the state.”
Gov. Kemp also notified Representative Terry England (R-Auburn), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; and Senator Jack Hill (R-Reidsville), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, via a separate letter of this request.
Gov.Kemp issued the following statement: “I am deeply grateful to House and Senate leadership for working to appropriate this critically needed funding. Lieutenant Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston will remain valuable partners in this effort as we work together to prepare for the impact of COVID-19 across Georgia.”