PLBC commends Gov. Wolf for pandemic-related small business grants

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 30 – State Rep. and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairwoman Donna Bullock, D-Phila., and members of the Black Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf praising him for reallocating funds in hopes of its use for small business pandemic relief grants but also asking for continued vigilance for a fair and equitable allocation.

Last week Wolf initiated a transfer of $145 million in funds from the Workers’ Compensation Security Fund to the General Fund so that they may be reallocated for pandemic-related small business grants. The General Assembly would have to vote on the reallocation when lawmakers return in January.

“My colleagues and I applaud this move by the governor,” Bullock said. “As we head into the new year, this funding could provide small businesses across the commonwealth with funds they need to fight this virus and support their communities. Small businesses are the lifeblood of neighborhoods and nowhere is that more evident than in communities of color. Those businesses were behind the eight ball before the pandemic even occurred so this relief will be very needed for those business owners. We need to do everything we can to ensure their success as we all navigate COVID.”

The letter states the PLBC believes state resources must be directed in an equitable, impactful, and accessible manner, especially targeting areas of significant need, and is creating the subcommittee on budget equity to inform and advocate for revenue and appropriation policies that benefit Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities. The subcommittee will work with the administration and the General Assembly to pass the legislation necessary to authorize the additional COVID-19 local business assistance, as well as a state budget that speaks directly to the needs of the commonwealth.  

“This important first step in 2021 cannot exclude minority-owned businesses,” said state Rep.-elect Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery. Nelson, in addition to being a member of the PLBC will be the subcommittee chairman. “The legislature was able to do this in June with the creation of the COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant Program. The Legislative Black Caucus is dedicated to ensuring the appropriation of these new funds to that program and funding methodology, quickly getting those funds out of our hands and into the hands of the small business owners who need it most.”