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MN State Auditor Julie Blaha: The State of Main Street 2022

Julie Blaha

This morning we talked with MN State Auditor Julie Blaha about a report released this week "The State of Main Street 2022". First in our conversation though, she updated us on the math version of Wordle. Turns out it's Nerdle and as she put it "the key is: know your order of operations."
Auditor Blaha also filled us in on local governments and how they fared and what they spent their COVID/CARES money on during the global pandemic.

In 2020, local governments had to protect public health, shore up basic public services and infrastructure, and respond to an economic challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic tested local government entities like nothing else in recent history. Most are aware of
the work local governments did to protect public health and shore up basic public services and infrastructure
affected by COVID-19. Local governments’ significant efforts to respond to local economic challenges,
however, received less attention. Through our data and during our listening sessions with local governments,
it became clear that they recognized that responding to local economic challenges was the third leg of the
stool in a meaningful response to COVID-19.

Many entities found ways to get resources into the hands of residents and local businesses to stabilize their
finances during massive changes in how, where, and in what ways Minnesotans worked. In fact, many in local
government believe that without robust local economic support, public health and infrastructure stabilization
efforts would have been less effective.

This interdependency between economic support, public health, and infrastructure stabilization made
targeting resources to local government entities a wise policy choice. Being closest to the pandemic’s impact
on their communities and the implementation of pandemic mitigation programs, local entities were able to
see the systemic nature of the activities and customize their actions in response.