The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Friday, but even if the latest coronavirus relief package makes its way to the president’s desk in the coming weeks, not all states can expect a bump in assistance.
Some of the country’s most rural states that have had high coronavirus infection rates but low unemployment, will see a reduced economic relief plan, than in previous packages.
States like South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and Vermont can expect to receive as much as $200-$600 less per capita, according to an analysis by Reuters.
The $1.9 trillion relief package has set aside $350 billion for state and local governments to cope with the economic repercussions of the pandemic.
But states that have driven higher unemployment and poverty rates per capita during the pandemic, will receive a bigger portion of the allotted funds.
Late last month, South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem took to twitter to tout the fact that her state was seeing unemployment rates lower than pre-pandemic levels.
"South Dakota's unemployment rate dropped to 3.0% in December," she wrote. "That's lower than it was BEFORE the pandemic."
Noem made headlines in the spring of 2020 after she refused to enforce stay-at-home orders or business closures seen in more densely populated states like New York and California.
But despite the positive employment rate, South Dakota is also home to the second highest rate of coronavirus infections in the country, with only North Dakota reporting more cases per every 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over the last month, the Mount Rushmore State has averaged over 12,600 cases of coronavirus per every 100,000 people. That’s compared to California, which has reported one of the highest caseloads in the country coupled with the third highest unemployment rate, but is only reporting over 8,700 cases per every 100,000 people.
The CARES Act -- the first COVID measure passed under the Trump administration -- allotted less than half of what states and local governments will receive in Biden’s first relief package. But states with the smallest populations received the greatest benefits per capita.
Democrats have lowered the state minimum from $1.25 billion to $500 million per state. The remaining $300 billion will be distributed to states based on their unemployment and poverty rates, reported Reuters.
Hawaii and Nevada -- states that are highly dependent on tourism and saw spikes in unemployment since the pandemic started -- will be amongst the top states to receive the greatest number of financial benefits from the latest COVID package.