SPARK requests American Rescue Plan investment ideas

Submitted

The Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee is inviting Kansans to share their investment ideas for the allocation of federal coronavirus relief funds allocated to Kansas through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of March 2021.

“This money offers the opportunity to make strategic investments that will have long-term positive impacts on our state,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “It is vital to the recovery efforts that we have input from Kansans across the state – everyone should have a seat at the table.”

This provides a chance for Kansans to make their voice heard as we rebuild our economy and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The SPARK Executive Committee oversees the development of recommendations for the distribution of ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds (SFRF), assisted by the four SPARK Advisory Panels: Health and Education, Efficiency and Modernization, Economic Revitalization, and Connectivity. The SPARK Executive Committee then presents recommendations to the State Finance Council to distribute the SFRF allocated to the State of Kansas. 

The online submission form for proposing a SPARK investment idea is available at https://covid.ks.gov/spark-submission-form/. Currently, SPARK is requesting proposals for program-level investments. The four Advisory Panels may consider these submissions as part of the process to determine investment priorities and make recommendations to the SPARK Executive Committee. Advisory Panels will begin meeting in the coming weeks.

“This is an historic opportunity for Kansans to have direct input in how these funds are utilized to benefit our state long term,” said Senate President Masterson. “I look forward to reviewing the investments ideas that our citizens submit and working with the Advisory Panels to identify the investments that will best position our state moving forward.”

In making decisions, SPARK will adhere to the following guiding principles:

• Prioritize sustainable programs and investments through one-time use of funds vs. substantial expansion of existing services.

• Combine with/leverage local and agency funds to maximize use of discretionary funds.

• Foster long-term systemic impact for Kansans.

• Consider equitable opportunities and outcomes.

• Enable flexibility within investment strategies.

• Ensure results are measurable to enable tracking and transparency.

“The SPARK Executive Committee heard many great investment ideas from the citizens of Kansas at our regional meetings across the state,” said House Speaker Ron Ryckman. “The investment ideas submitted through this form will allow SPARK to further engage with the citizens of Kansas while determining investment priorities.”

Interested parties are instructed to complete the submission form in its entirety. The submission period will close on Feb. 16.

Once submitted, investment ideas will be available for review by Advisory Panel members. By submitting an investment idea, interested parties acknowledge that SPARK staff may follow up with them for additional details. Submission does not guarantee assignment to or further consideration by an Advisory Panel and that additional information will not be reviewed unless requested.

Interested parties also are encouraged to familiarize themselves on allowable uses of SFRF. An overview of the Treasury Department’s Final Rule summarizing eligibility provisions for using SFRF can be found at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule-Overview.pdf, while the entire Final Rule is available at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule.pdf. Please note that not all investment ideas will fit within the allowable uses of SFRF.

An FAQ document on the submission form is available at https://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/20220124_Submission-Form-FAQ-Doc_vFinal-Branded.pdf. If there are any questions on completing the submission form, please contact [email protected].

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