Gov. Beshear: More than $3.6 Million in Federal Funding to Support Kentucky Tourism and Arts

Funding will support recovery, growth of two economic engines for the commonwealth

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 20, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry announced that Kentucky will receive more than $3.6 million in federal funding to support economic growth and recovery of the state’s tourism and arts industries.

“As we sprint out of this pandemic to build a better Kentucky, we want to help provide the tools our hardest hit industries need to fulfill the critical roles they play in our economy,” said Gov. Beshear. “My administration remains committed to investing in Kentucky, and we understand the positive impact that these continued investments have on fostering a strong economy for our future.”

As part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ first distribution of American Rescue Plan funding, more than $800,000 in federal funding will be distributed to Kentucky to support the commonwealth’s $2.3 billion arts and culture industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next several weeks, the Kentucky Arts Council will determine how this critical federal funding will be distributed to arts organizations throughout the commonwealth.

Kentucky will also receive a $2.8 million Economic Development Administration CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to support economic growth of the state’s tourism industry. As part of the commonwealth’s promotional efforts, this critical funding will allow for the development of a marketing campaign focused on highlighting the nine tourism regions and continue efforts to promote the state as a safe travel destination that is open and ready to welcome visitors to Kentucky.

“To ensure Kentucky remains a national leader in the tourism industry, we continue to seek opportunities that allow us to foster long-term economic growth for our partners,” said Secretary Berry. “Both the arts and tourism industries play critical roles in generating revenue for communities throughout the commonwealth, and today’s announcement is another positive step as Kentucky continues to be proactive in our efforts to build a stronger Kentucky for the future.”

This positive economic news following last week’s announcement of the commonwealth’s commitment of $5 million in federal CARES Act funding to the Kentucky tourism industry designed to prime the industry for growth through the development of marketing efforts to reach multicultural, national and international travel markets.

Today’s announcement joins a string of positive economic news in recent weeks that indicate the commonwealth is poised to emerge from the pandemic as a leader, creating more opportunities for our people in every corner of the state.

Yesterday, citing widespread vaccinations and an early reopening, the Governor announced a second major rating agency published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky. The Moody’s Analytics report said Kentucky’s economy entered the new year with gusto. Kentucky’s economy lagged the U.S. prior to the pandemic, but the state’s recovery has benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services.

This month the Governor also announced record sales tax and motor vehicle usage tax receipts, a direct indicator of strong economic activity that also sets up Kentucky to have an estimated surplus of more than $586 million. This estimate puts the state on pace to end the current fiscal year with over $1 billion in the rainy day fund – the most money ever in a rainy day fund in Kentucky.

Gov. Beshear announced that despite COVID-19, Kentucky Main Street communities finished last year strong with a reported $45.5 million cumulative investment in downtown commercial districts. This positive economic news represents $28.1 million in private spending matched by $17.4 million in public improvements with a net gain of 842 new jobs, 122 new businesses and 66 rehabilitation projects.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury also announced May 10 that Kentucky will receive $2.183 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, with the allotment smaller than an earlier estimate because of the state’s positive economic performance.

Last week, the Governor reported that one of the big three credit rating agencies, Fitch Ratings, improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery from the pandemic. The new rating highlighted how Kentucky’s employment recovery through March has been slightly ahead of the national pace.

Even with the pandemic, the Governor has announced 270 economic development projects that will create more than 8,000 new jobs. The average pay for those jobs is one of the highest in years. He is supporting our rural communities with more than $124 million in investment for 160 projects that are helping to diversify regional economies.

In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region – and third nationally – for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million.

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