Gov. Wolf Continues Call for Legislative Action to Ensure Small Business Success Across Pennsylvania
March 25, 2022
Just as every Pennsylvanian is hurting from rising inflation and gas prices, so are Pennsylvania businesses. With this in mind, Governor Tom Wolf today visited Schaefer Flowers in York with Representative Carol Hill-Evans to continue pushing for the Republican-led General Assembly to finally spend Pennsylvania’s uncommitted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars on the commonwealth’s small businesses.
“We are sitting on more than $2 billion that could help Pennsylvania thrive, despite the increasing costs we face every day,” said Gov. Wolf. “Pennsylvania’s small businesses power our economy, they’re owned by our neighbors, and we need them to succeed. I’m asking my Republican colleagues to act now. Let’s get this money out of our coffers and to the businesses that we all rely on every day.”
With no suggestions from Republicans in the General Assembly on how to spend Pennsylvania’s remaining ARPA funds, in February Gov. Wolf and his Democratic colleagues proposed a $1.7 billion spending plan that would provide direct relief to Pennsylvania’s businesses, communities, and families. The plan includes a $225 million recapitalization of the Small Business Assistance Program developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses would be eligible to receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 that could cover a range of expenses.
In 2020, more than 10,000 businesses received $192 million from the Small Business Assistance Program, including Schaefer Flowers of York which received $50,000.
“This is a 124-year-old family business and this grant was a lifeline to us,” said CEO of Schaefer Flowers, Chris Sallade. “While the COVID-19 pandemic is ending, all small businesses are still struggling in some way.”
Recapitalizing the Small Business Assistance Program could support another 11,000 small businesses in PA.
“The 95th legislative district has seen an increase in small business growth during the pandemic. Assistance from the commonwealth gave small businesses a boost to carry through, but more can be done,” said Rep. Hill-Evans. “I hope my colleagues will support reopening the program for those who are still struggling with COVID-related debt, furloughs, and other issues.”
Gov. Wolf’s $1.7 billion proposal also includes $500 million for direct payments to Pennsylvanians in need, $204 million for direct property tax relief, $325 million for Pennsylvania’s healthcare system, and $450 million to invest in conservation, preservation, and revitalization of Pennsylvania communities. If Pennsylvania doesn’t obligate the ARPA dollars by December 31, 2024, they will need returned to the federal government.