Ciresi/Snyder legislation to help smallest businesses advances out of committee

HARRISBURG, May 5 – On a coincidentally rainy day in Harrisburg, legislation from state Reps. Joe Ciresi and Pam Snyder that would establish a grant program for local businesses was reported unanimously out of the House Commerce Committee. 

The bill, which Ciresi, D-Montgomery, and Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, reintroduced this legislative session, would create a grant program for the commonwealth’s smallest businesses, which make no more than $1.5 million in gross annual receipts or employ up to 10 full-time employees. Eligible businesses would include retail or personal service businesses that were negatively financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities throughout Pennsylvania, and it is essential that the state puts extra support toward ensuring these businesses can survive these tough times and be able to flourish as we continually move toward a return to normalcy,” Ciresi said. “The COVID-19 pandemic hit our communities very hard, impacting not only these businesses but also the livelihood of their employees. 

“I am hopeful that the unanimous support of the bill out of the Commerce Committee today is a huge step forward in providing these struggling local businesses with some much-needed assistance. I will never stop fighting for the people who keep our communities humming.” 

The bill, H.B. 537, may soon head to the full House for a vote. It was first introduced by Ciresi and Snyder during the 2019-20 legislative session as H.B. 2452; while it did not receive a full vote then, its concept was incorporated into the small business relief included in the state budget and CARES Act-funded COVID-19 pandemic relief.

“As someone whose parents owned a small business, I know and understand their challenges, and those challenges were truly brought to the forefront with the arrival of the pandemic,” Snyder said. “This measure, along with my support of H.B. 1223 to expand business interruption policies to help businesses impacted by the governor’s disaster declaration, will ensure they get the help they need and deserve.” 

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Ciresi and Snyder have been pushing legislation to help offset the economic struggles suffered by local businesses.  

Many of the policies and directives Ciresi was pushing were incorporated into S.B. 109, which was signed into law earlier this year and directs COVID-19 relief funding to local restaurants and small businesses. He’s also proposed waiving restaurant license renewal fees

In addition to H.B. 1223, which she highlighted at a news conference earlier this week, Snyder has been actively promoting the Pennsylvania Rescue Plan that aims to facilitate the recovery of workers, businesses and schools. 

More information is available by contacting Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265 or Snyder’s office at 724-966-8953.