Many in Pennsylvania could soon get a stimulus check if the General Assembly approves a proposal from Gov. Tom Wolf. Gov. Wolf plans to use unspent federal COVID relief money to send out Pennsylvania coronavirus stimulus checks. If approved, eligible residents would get a one-time check of $2,000.
Gov. Wolf is calling on the General Assembly to approve legislation that would use $500 million of the $2.2 billion of unspent COVID relief money that the state got from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act to give out Pennsylvania coronavirus stimulus checks.
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Wolf wants $500 million of those funds to be used to fund the PA Opportunity Program that would give Pennsylvania coronavirus stimulus checks of $2,000 to eligible residents. As per the legislation, households with an income of $80,000 or less would get a stimulus check of up to $2,000.
Gov. Wolf’s plan would offer a much-needed boost to the people who faced “severe economic hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Representative Maureen Madden said. “Even as the economy recovers in record fashion and unemployment numbers continue to drop, we’re still facing worldwide inflation, and the higher cost of living is impeding the recovery of working-class families who are the lifeblood of our communities.”
If the state is unable to use the $2.2 billion federal ARPA dollars by Dec. 31, 2024, the unspent money will be sent back to the federal government. Earlier this month, Wolf’s office informed that Democratic leaders in the Senate and House are supporting Wolf’s plan.
“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,” Gov. Wolf said in a statement.
Gov. Wolf’s Plan: What Else Does It Include?
The $500 million PA Opportunity Program is part of Wolf’s $1.7 billion proposal. Along with the provision to send Pennsylvania coronavirus stimulus checks, Wolf’s proposal sets aside $225 million for small businesses, $325 million for the healthcare system, $204 million for direct property tax relief and $450 million for conservation, preservation, and revitalization of Pennsylvania communities.
The $225 million COVID Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program would offer $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, if approved, is expected to help about 11,000 businesses.
To offer direct property tax relief, Wolf plans to invest an additional $204 million into the existing Property Tax Rent Rebate program. The program would offer a one-time bonus rebate to current program users. If approved, this program is estimated to help 466,000 Pennsylvanians, who could get an additional rebate of $475.
From $325 million for the healthcare system, $250 million will go toward recruitment and retention incentives, as well as workforce development initiatives, $40 million will be for expanding county mental health programs, and $35 million will be for expanding the student loan forgiveness program at PHEAA.