Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvanians Deserve the Opportunity to Thrive, $500 Million American Rescue Plan Program Would Put $2,000 in Pockets
At the Philadelphia Boys & Girls Club today, Governor Tom Wolf highlighted the untapped opportunity Pennsylvania’s Republican-led General Assembly has to give money directly to Pennsylvanians hurting from the rising cost of living.
Pennsylvania is sitting on more than $2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars that remain uncommitted, despite a $1.7 billion proposal by Gov. Wolf.
“The cost of everything from gas to groceries is rising, and for Pennsylvanians living paycheck to paycheck that can mean painful decisions,” said Gov. Wolf. “Pennsylvanians deserve to be supported and the opportunity to thrive. Yet my Republican colleagues are sitting on more than $2 billion of support that will need returned to the federal government if they don’t pass a plan.”
Joined by Senator Christine Tartaglione, Gov. Wolf today urged the legislature to work together to put money into the pockets of Pennsylvanians before it’s too late. Sen. Tartaglione and Rep. Brian Kirkland plan to introduce the governor’s proposed PA Opportunity Program as legislation in the Senate and House.
Gov. Wolf’s PA Opportunity Program proposal uses $500 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars to provide direct payments up to $2,000 for Pennsylvania households with an income of $80,000 or less. The program aims to help families still recovering economically from the COVID-19 pandemic or support them with covering pandemic-related costs and managing the current, every day increasing costs of living.
“The people of Pennsylvania have proved their resiliency time after time enduring the economic hardships that the COVID-19 pandemic brought,” said Sen. Tartaglione. “Now it is time for Pennsylvania to step up and support our people, and I am excited to partner with Gov. Wolf to fight for the passage of the PA Opportunity Program. We have billions of dollars sitting in the bank, it’s time we start using it to help Pennsylvanians.”
“If we’re going to help the people in my district recover from the pandemic, then we need to get relief money out of the vault and into the community,” Rep. Kirkland said. “Our plan puts money into the hands of working people who will spend it at local businesses and build our economy from the bottom up. I’m proud to stand with Gov. Wolf and Sen. Tartaglione to make it happen.”
Gov. 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 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.
“I’m grateful that Sen. Tartaglione and Rep. Kirkland are taking initiative to get this money into the hands of those who need it most,” added Gov. Wolf. “I’m hopeful Republican leaders will get on board and get bills for this program to my desk as soon as possible.”