(Bloomberg) -- Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is doling out cash again, sending $1 billion of the federal Covid-19 funds he once opposed to the state’s poorest communities.
In a video message, Kemp, a Republican, said his administration “will continue identifying ways to put money back into the pockets of hard-working Georgians.”
The handout is Kemp’s fourth in less than a week. It drew quick scorn from the campaign of Stacey Abrams, his Democratic opponent in the nation’s most-watched gubernatorial race.
Kemp’s newest allocation would give an estimated 3 million enrollees in poverty programs – including Medicaid, food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families -- $350 apiece, using federal aid left over from the American Rescue Plan, which Democrats passed and President Joe Biden signed in 2021. Kemp opposed it, partly because he said Georgia deserved more.
“Kemp’s PR stunt is too little, too late,” Abrams spokesman Alex Floyd said in an email. “Georgians need a real leader, not more election-year vote-buying schemes.”
In a Twitter thread, Abrams also responded: “I will not wait until an election year to fight for you.”
Kemp has used Covid money before, announcing $415 million in grants to small business and nonprofits eight days before his May primary with former US Senator David Perdue, for instance.
Abrams has supported giving Georgia families $1 billion in relief for months. But she advocated in an Aug. 9 speech that much of state’s record surplus -- $7.3 billion, including leftover Covid money -- should bolster education and infrastructure. Abrams also supports expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Two days later, Kemp announced he would give $1 billion to Georgians directly and allocate another $1 billion to local governments to reduce property taxes. The next day, he announced a $240 million grant for high-speed internet in rural Georgia funded with American Rescue Plan money. He announced the latest allocation on Monday.
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