Another round of stimulus check? Gov. Wolf pushing a plan that would send $2,000 to some Pennsylvania residents

 Another round of stimulus check? Gov. Wolf pushing a plan that would send $2,000 to some Pennsylvania residents

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf is urging the General Assembly to pass legislation for the $500 million PA Opportunity Program, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and would provide Pennsylvanians with $2,000 checks, according to WPXI.

“Pennsylvanians should not have to choose between paying for utilities or groceries, childcare or gas. We have the opportunity and the means to ensure they’re not struggling, to ensure their success,” said Gov. Wolf. “I’m asking the General Assembly to unite across aisles on this for the sake of every Pennsylvanian — for when they succeed, our commonwealth succeeds. Let’s get this money out of our coffers and into the pockets of Pennsylvanians.”

According to Wolf’s office, the state has more than $2 billion in federal ARPA funds that will be returned to the federal government if not used by December 31, 2024.

Wolf’s office announced last week that Democratic leaders in the Senate and House had agreed to introduce a bill to support the program. Pennsylvania households with an income of $80,000 or less would be eligible for direct payments of up to $2,000.

Wolf’s $1.7 billion proposals also include $225 million in support for small businesses, $204 million in direct property tax relief, $325 million for Pennsylvania’s healthcare system, and $450 million to invest in community conservation, preservation, and revitalization.

Here is a breakdown from Wolf’s office:

The PA Opportunity Program, $500 million

Pennsylvanians are resilient, but many workers and families are still dealing with pandemic-related expenses, budget fixation, and rebuilding savings.

The PA Opportunity Program would provide much-needed relief to workers and families from the high cost of childcare and household expenses, as well as opportunities to complete a degree, credential, or license that would strengthen their skills and increase their income, all of which would lead to a higher 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 struggled with economic losses as a result of the pandemic. Businesses can use these grants to cover operating expenses and gain access to technical assistance, such as training and guidance, to help them remain stable and relaunch their businesses.

Women’s and minority-owned businesses, as well as rural communities, would be favored under the program. Gov. Wolf proposes reinvesting $225 million in this program to assist approximately 11,000 additional businesses.

$204 million in additional property relief for low-income renters and homeowners

Gov. Wolf suggests investing an additional $204 million in the existing Property Tax Rent Rebate program for a one-time bonus rebate to current program users in order to provide direct property tax relief to Pennsylvanians. Existing rebates would be doubled as a result of this investment. An estimated 466,000 Pennsylvanians would receive a $475 additional rebate.

Support for Pennsylvania’s health care system, $325 million

This investment would honour healthcare workers for their heroic dedication and hard work throughout the pandemic, as well as provide resources to healthcare providers to recruit and retain a skilled workforce:

$250 million for long-term care recruitment and retention incentives, as well as workforce development initiatives, to expand the critical health care workforce; $40 million for the behavioral health workforce to expand county mental health facilities; and $35 million to expand PHEAA’s student loan forgiveness program to include more critical health care workers.

Investing in conservation, recreation, and preservation, $450 million

Pennsylvania will continue to invest in critical conservation, recreation, preservation, and community revitalization projects, as well as combat climate change. Gov. Wolf’s plan calls for additional funding for the Growing Greener conservation and recreation program, as well as agriculture conservation programs like the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program and the existing Agriculture Conservation Excellence Grant Program.

This program would make Pennsylvania more resilient in the face of more extreme and frequent weather events caused by climate change after the state experienced record-breaking rainfall and flooding events this year. It would benefit the economy, communities, and the overall quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.

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