The state budget aid to localities bill included $10 million in new funding for Census 2020 outreach efforts and reappropriated $20 million never spent on the census from last year’s budget. The state was set to begin distributing $15 million of that funding in early March, only to be further delayed by the pandemic outbreak.
Each county in the state was invited to submit applications for a pre-set share of funds they would pass down to pre-qualified non-profit organizations by March 2nd. Despite late efforts to move the money in mid-March to localities, no funds have yet been allocated to counties and non-profit organizations.
While the same legislative language used last year to permit the Division of the Budget to move the funds through Empire State Development’s budget, it’s unknown at this time when last year’s funds will ever be distributed or what will happen with the new funding.
The census is now underway, with 36.1% of the state’s households responding via the internet or telephone. The national response rate is now 41.3% and Minnesota has already hit the 49.9% response rate, highest in the nation. Due to the pandemic, the census counting period has been extended to August 14 and may go even later as the Census Bureau works to meet a statutory December 31 deadline for congressional reapportionment state population totals and stats district allocations.