Governor Wolf initiates transfer of $ 145 million in funds to support businesses hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that he has initiated a $ 145 million transfer of funds from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s Workers’ Compensation Security Fund, which will be earmarked by the state legislature in grants to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Business owners and employees have worked hard to protect their customers and their communities during this pandemic, and I thank everyone who has made health and safety a priority despite the hardships of the past few months,” said Governor Wolf. “Our business owners and workers have been forced to make sacrifices because of COVID-19 and they need and deserve our support.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that my administration will make funds available to help companies whose operations and revenues have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The transfer of $ 145 million from the fund to the general state fund requires legislative authority to spend the money for the purpose of providing grants to businesses. The legislator has the power to establish grant agreements for the purposes it deems appropriate, in this case, to support businesses affected by the pandemic.

Governor Wolf urged lawmakers to follow his lead and allocate this funding as quickly as possible to businesses affected by the pandemic, including restaurants and bars, gyms and places of entertainment.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Wolf Administration has provided more than $ 525 million in assistance to businesses and nonprofits in addition to federal support through programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program:

  • In March, the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program as part of the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s (PIDA) Small Business First Fund has provided $ 60 million in loans of $ 100,000 or less to 750 for-profit businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees.
  • In April, the Ministry of Economic Development provided loan abstention for all borrowers from the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) (except PENNWORKS program loans), Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) and Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority . As a result, the maturity of the loans has been extended by three months.
  • In June, the COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant Program, using CARES law funding allocated by the General Assembly, was created to support small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis and the business shutdown order that followed. More than 10,000 companies have been approved for $ 192 million in grants under COVID-19 Relief – half of which were historically disadvantaged companies.
  • In June, the COVID-19 Cultural Preservation and Museum Preservation $ 20 Million Grant Program through the CARES law for cultural organizations and museums, compensated for the loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting closure order.
  • In August, the administration granted $ 50 million in the risk premium grants to help 639 employers pay a risk premium to employees in vital sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Over the summer, the administration provided a total of $ 220 million in childcare development funds from the CARES Act for child care providers to support this important sector during the pandemic.
  • In October, the administration waiver of liquor license fees to provide financial assistance to restaurants and bars during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 16,000 restaurants and bars, clubs, dining clubs and hotels in Pennsylvania will receive $ 20 million in assistance.

“There is more to be done to help struggling businesses,” Governor Wolf said. “Much like the CARES Act did in March, the bipartisan COVID-19 relief plan passed by Congress this week will provide much-needed help to businesses and industries across Pennsylvania. But this bill is not enough to meet the needs of Pennsylvania businesses that have suffered the worst consequences of this pandemic. “

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats introduced the Pennsylvania Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act of 2021 (PA CARE 21– a COVID-19 relief and recovery plan that would authorize the Commonwealth to issue $ 4 billion in emergency debt to recapitalize programs previously funded by federal CARES funds and establish new programs that provide targeted aid to Pennsylvanians struggling sectors and struggling sectors of the economy.

“This plan would provide resources directly to families, workers, businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, first responders, local governments and other entities in Pennsylvania who have been financially devastated by the pandemic,” Governor Wolf said. . “In addition to this plan, I encourage Congress to pass the $ 120 billion Real Economic Support Act which recognizes the one-time assistance needed for restaurants to survive (RESTAURANTS) to help the restaurant industry and restaurants. troubled bars.

“While all businesses should be eligible for relief, I encourage the General Assembly to target the $ 145 million for which I initiated a transfer today to businesses that need it most.

“I urge the General Assembly to take action as soon as possible to get this money back into the hands of business owners and workers who need it. The money is there and ready to be distributed and our businesses cannot afford to wait.

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