Federal government denies Minnesota’s request for aid to clean up, rebuild in Twin Cities
The federal government has denied Gov. Tim Walz’s request for disaster aid to rebuild and repair buildings that were damaged in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
On July 2, Walz asked President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” in Minnesota in response to the destruction of public infrastructure that was damaged by fires.
Teddy Tschann, a spokesman for the governor’s office, confirmed to KSTP the federal government denied his request for support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, adding that Walz was “disappointed.”
“As we navigate one of the most difficult periods in our state’s history, we look for support from our federal government to help us through,” Tschann said in a statement.
A preliminary assessment estimated $15 million in damage directly related to fires, the governor wrote in his request for financial assistance.
According to Walz’s office, looting, fires and vandalism damaged nearly 1,500 businesses in the Twin Cities, and the total damages exceeded $500 million.
“The governor is disappointed that the federal government declined his request for financial support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help Minnesota rebuild after civil unrest damaged public infrastructure and caused extensive fire damage in the wake of George Floyd’s death,” Walz’s spokesperson Teddy Tschann said in a statement. “As we navigate one of the most difficult periods in our state’s history, we look for support from our federal government to help us through.”
In making the request for help, Walz had noted that the financial challenge had been made even harder by the impacts on the state budget from the cononavirus pandemic. A projected $1.5 billion budget surplus in February was soon wiped out by a projected $2.4 billion revenue shortfall, he wrote to in the request to President Trump via FEMA.
In a statement provided to MPR News on Saturday, a FEMA spokesperson said:
“After a thorough review of Minnesota’s request for a major disaster declaration from extensive fire damage as a result of civil unrest in late May and early June, it was determined that the impact to public infrastructure is within the capabilities of the local and state governments to recover from. The governor has 30 days to appeal that decision.”
The federal government’s denial of the request from Walz, a Democrat, came a day after Republican U.S. Rep Tom Emmer of Minnesota sent a letter to Trump and other federal officials raising questions about the request.
While not stating opposition to Minnesota receiving federal money, Emmer asked that — in the wake of Walz’s request — the Trump administration “undertake a thorough and concurrent review of my state’s response to the violence.”