Gov. Wolf: Now is the Time to Support the Small Businesses We Rely on Every Day
April 06, 2022
Wolf Administration calls for legislative action to spend PA’s uncommitted American Rescue Plan Act dollars
Cornerstones of Pennsylvania communities, small businesses are hurting just as much as individual Pennsylvanians from continually rising costs combined with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. With billions in federal dollars waiting on legislation to be spent, Governor Tom Wolf today visited The Nittany Quill in State College with Representative Scott Conklin to continue pushing for the Republican-led General Assembly to spend Pennsylvania’s uncommitted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars on small businesses.
“If we want the small businesses we rely on today to be around tomorrow, now is the time to commit these dollars to their success,” said Gov. Wolf. “My Republican colleagues are sitting on more than $2 billion of relief. If we don’t spend it, we have to return it to the federal government. I’m asking the General Assembly to give it to Pennsylvania now –support local communities, support jobs, and give us all the opportunity to continue supporting our neighbors.”
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. In State College 27 small businesses received support, including The Nittany Quill of State College which received $20,000.
“Our small businesses are the core of our communities. From coffee shops, to landscapers and hair salons, and we need to continue to invest in these enterprises, and the people and families behind them,” Rep. Conklin said. “We still have more than $2 billion in American Rescue Plan funds sitting in the bank, and thus have the opportunity to make a transformational change in our communities — creating jobs, investing in education, expanding affordable childcare, and making similar investments to help our neighbors recover, rebuild and thrive beyond the pandemic.”
Recapitalizing the Small Business Assistance Program could support another 11,000 small businesses in Pennsylvania.
“Our local independent business community could not have survived without the critical funding offered through the PA Small Business Assistance Grant,” said Executive Director of the State College Downtown Improvement District Lee Anne Jeffries. “This support ensured our merchants were able to cover business expenses including rent and utilities while retaining valuable staff during COVID-19. As we emerge from the pandemic, financial government aid will remain an essential component to economic recovery.”
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.