Gov. Wolf Continues Call on the General Assembly to Allocate Federal Funding to Support Pennsylvania

March 03, 2022

Governor Tom Wolf today was joined by members of the General Assembly and community members at Nicole Taylor Boutique in Lancaster City to call on Pennsylvania’s General Assembly to take immediate action in allocating the $1.7 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to Pennsylvanians, specifically small business owners.

“Through sound fiscal management and smart investments, my administration has helped state government turn our finances around, getting us out of a severe hole,” said Gov. Wolf. “The state is in a good financial state right now, and that’s important because many Pennsylvania businesses and families are not in a good place, through no fault of their own. The $1.7 billion in federal funding is in addition to our overall good financial standing, and it’s past time we use that money for its intended purpose – to put all Pennsylvanians back on a path to prosperity.”

Earlier this month, Gov. Wolf proposed a $1.7 billion action plan including a diverse variety of programs that aimed to promote immediate and future success for Pennsylvanians. Today, he continues to call on the legislature to take immediate action on the proposed plan including:

The PA Opportunity Program, $500 million 

Pennsylvanians are resilient, yet many workers and families are still covering pandemic-related costs, stabilizing their budgets, and rebuilding their savings. 

The PA Opportunity Program would provide much needed relief to workers and families from the high cost of childcare and household expenses and opportunities to complete a degree, credential, or license that will strengthen their skills and increase income—all leading to a better quality of life.

Small Business Support, $225 million

The COVID Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program ​would provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by the pandemic. Among other things, businesses can use these grants to cover operating expenses and access technical assistance, including training and guidance to stabilize and relaunch their businesses. The program ​would prioritize women- and minority-owned businesses and rural communities. Gov. Wolf proposes to recapitalize this program at $225 million to help approximately 11,000 additional businesses. 

Increased Property Relief for Low-Income Renters & Homeowners, $204 million

To provide direct property tax relief to Pennsylvanians, Gov. Wolf wants to invest an additional $204 million into the existing Property Tax Rent Rebate program for a one-time bonus rebate to current program users. This investment would double existing rebates. An estimated 466,000 Pennsylvanians would receive an additional average rebate of $475. 

Support for Pennsylvania’s Healthcare System, $325 million

This investment would recognize healthcare workers for their heroic dedication and hard work throughout the pandemic and give healthcare providers resources to recruit and retain a skilled workforce​:

$250 million for long-term care recruitment and retention incentives and workforce development initiatives to grow the critical healthcare workforce​;

$40 million for the behavioral health workforce to expand county mental health programs; and 

$35 million to expand the student loan forgiveness program at PHEAA to include additional critical healthcare workers.

Investing in Conservation, Recreation & Preservation, $450 million

Pennsylvania must continue to invest in vital conservation, recreation, preservation, and community revitalization projects and address the threat of climate change. Gov. Wolf’s plan proposes new funding for the Growing Greener conservation and recreation program as well as for agriculture conservation programs, such as the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program and the existing Agriculture Conservation Excellence Grant Program.   

After experiencing record-breaking rainfall and flooding events this past year, this program would make Pennsylvania more resilient in the face of more extreme and frequent weather events caused by climate change. It would support our economy, enhance our communities, and improve quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. 

Gov. Wolf was joined today by Representative Mike Sturla, Lancaster City Mayor Danene Sorace, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Acting Secretary Neil Weaver, and the owner of Nicole Taylor Boutique Nicole Vasquez.

“I agree with Governor Wolf that the legislature must act now to provide more funding to help small business all over Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Sturla. “We helped them before and we need to do it again if we expect to recover from the pandemic without further significant economic consequences for our small business community.”

“Lancaster City’s unique business community is continuing to recover from the pandemic, and we are at a unique moment,” said Mayor Sorace. “COVID is receding, there are clear signs of economic recovery, and recovery is still fragile. Additional grant dollars through the American Rescue Plan can further strengthen our small business community, ensuring the fabric of our entrepreneurial community is not just surviving but also thriving.”

“This additional $225 million would help bring relief that so many small businesses need to not just make ends meet, but to invest in their workers and their business in ways that set them up for long-term success,” said Acting Secretary Weaver. “Crucially, its focus on women-owned and minority-owned businesses directly helps combat the economic inequities that have been exposed by COVID-19. This additional infusion of dollars into the COVID Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program would help approximately 11,000 additional businesses, just like the Nicole Taylor Boutique. Our small businesses deserve our support as we continue to recover from this pandemic and that’s exactly what the governor is proposing.”

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