Pennsylvanians deserve the chance to thrive, a $500 million US bailout package would put $2,000 in their pockets

At the Philadelphia Boys & Girls Club today, Governor Tom Wolf highlighted the untapped opportunity the Republican-led Pennsylvania General Assembly has to give money directly to Pennsylvanians suffering from the rising cost of living .

Pennsylvania is sitting on more than $2 billion in U.S. federal bailout law dollars that remain uncommitted, despite a $1.7 billion proposal from Governor Wolf.

“The cost of everything from gas to groceries is rising, and for Pennsylvanians who live paycheck to paycheck, that can mean painful decisions,” Governor Wolf said. “Pennsylvanians deserve to be supported and given the opportunity to thrive. Yet my fellow Republicans are sitting on more than $2 billion in support that will have to be returned to the federal government if they don’t pass a plan.

Joined by Senator Christine Tartaglione and Rep. Brian Kirkland, Governor Wolf today urged the Legislature to work together to put money in the pockets of Pennsylvanians before it’s too late. Senator Tartaglione and Rep. Kirkland plan to introduce the PA Opportunity Program proposed by the Governor as legislation in the Senate and House.

Governor Wolf’s PA Opportunity Program proposal uses $500 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars to provide direct payments of up to $2,000 to Pennsylvania households with incomes of $80,000 or less. The program aims to help families who are still recovering economically from the COVID-19 pandemic or help them cover pandemic-related costs and manage the current cost of living, which is increasing daily.

“Pennsylvania residents have proven their resilience time and time again as they endure the economic hardships the COVID-19 pandemic has brought,” said Senator Tartaglione. “Now is the time for Pennsylvania to step up and stand with our people, and I am thrilled to join Governor Wolf in fighting for the adoption of the PA Opportunity program. We have billions of dollars in the bank, it’s time we started using them to help Pennsylvanians.

“If we want to help people in my district recover from the pandemic, we need to take relief money out of the safe and pour it into the community,” Rep. Kirkland said. “Our plan puts money in the hands of workers who will spend it on local businesses and build our economy from the bottom up. I am proud to stand with Governor Wolf and Senator Tartaglione today to make this happen.

Governor Wolf’s $1.7 billion proposal also includes $225 million in support for small businesses, $204 million for direct property tax relief, $325 million for Pennsylvania’s healthcare system and $450 million to invest in the conservation, preservation and revitalization of Pennsylvania communities. If Pennsylvania does not oblige the ARPA dollars by December 31, 2024, they will have to be returned to the federal government.

“I am grateful that Senator Tartaglione and Rep. Kirkland are taking the initiative to put this money into the hands of those who need it most,” Governor Wolf added. “I hope Republican leaders will get on board and get the bills for this program to my office as soon as possible.”

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