HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday urged the General Assembly to allocate $145 million that is available now to provide much-needed support to Pennsylvania businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Wolf, joined by Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware), noted that it has been three weeks since the governor initiated a transfer of $145 million to be appropriated by the state legislature into grants for businesses.
This transfer requires legislative authorization to appropriate the funding to make grants for businesses. “This pandemic has brought us many challenges, but we have the means in front of us to help Pennsylvanians overcome one of those challenges,” Wolf said.
“We all need the Republican-led General Assembly to step up and do their part. Republican leaders have failed to act thus far and that has to change. They need to act quickly because businesses need this help now.”
“It is not mitigation efforts but rather inaction on assistance programs that is putting permanent ‘Closed’ signs on the doors of business across the state,” Costa said.
“This $145 million is an important step to helping our small business community through this difficult time. The Senate Democrats are ready to vote yes on the plan as soon as we are back to session.
“For nearly a year now our local businesses have been struggling to keep their doors open,” McClinton said. “These are the neighborhood businesses that create the jobs, sponsor the little league team, let the Girl Scouts sell cookies out front and are the backbone of the communities they serve. They deserve our help and we’re going to deliver the help they need.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the Wolf Administration has provided for more than $525 million in relief to businesses and non-profits in addition to federal support through programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
The governor said the Republican legislature, rather than prioritize supporting businesses, has instead focused its efforts over the past few weeks on spreading disinformation about the 2020 General Election, delaying the swearing-in of a Democratic senator who won his election, and trying to find ways to disenfranchise voters.
“The General Assembly must commit to working together to get this money into the hands of businesses that need it. Delaying now, when the funds have already been transferred, only harms working Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said. “The money is available and ready to be distributed and our businesses can’t afford to wait.”