(WHTM) — Is Pennsylvania getting another stimulus check? Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and his administration reintroduced his proposed PA Opportunity Plan that would use American Rescue Plan dollars to send direct payments to Pennsylvania residents.
The $1.7 billion PA Opportunity Plan would assist families with child care, job training, broadband, transportation, and afterschool programs
The $2,000 direct payments would go to Pennsylvania households with an income of $80,000 or less.
“This money will make a life-changing difference for families in communities across the commonwealth, providing a much-needed buffer against prices that are artificially and temporarily higher due to inflation,” said Gov. Wolf on Monday in Allegheny County. “Let’s put this cash back in the pockets of Pennsylvanians, to help cover the higher costs of gas, groceries, and everything else.
”Why on earth wouldn’t we act to do all of that, when we have the funds necessary to make this investment in the people of Pennsylvania, right now?” Gov. Wolf said. “I am once again calling on Republican leaders in the General Assembly to send a bill to my desk to help the people of Pennsylvania.”
Gov. Wolf’s $1.7 billion proposal from earlier this year 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.
“This year’s budget made major investments in working families across the commonwealth, putting Pennsylvania on a pack to a brighter future, but we still have the funds to make this investment in the people of Pennsylvania right now,” said Gov Wolf. “People need help now, and we can afford to help them. Let’s put this cash back in the pockets of Pennsylvanians, to help cover the higher costs of gas, groceries, and everything else.”
The Governor’s Office released an outline earlier this year for each of the five proposed programs:
- The PA Opportunity Program, $500 million
“The PA Opportunity Program would provide much-needed relief to workers and families from the high cost of childcare and household expenses and opportunities to complete a degree, credential, or license that will strengthen their skills and increase income—all leading to a better quality of life.”
- Small Business Support, $225 million
“The COVID Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program would provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by the pandemic. Among other things, businesses can use these grants to cover operating expenses and access technical assistance, including training and guidance to stabilize and relaunch their businesses. The program would prioritize women- and minority-owned businesses and rural communities. Gov. Wolf proposes to recapitalize this program at $225 million to help approximately 11,000 additional businesses.”Gov. Wolf visits expERIEnce Children’s Museum to highlight $5 million state investment to help expand the museum
- Increased Property Relief for Low-Income Renters & Homeowners, $204 million
To provide direct property tax relief to Pennsylvanians, Gov. Wolf wants to invest an additional $204 million into the existing Property Tax Rent Rebate program for a one-time bonus rebate to current program users. This investment would double existing rebates. An estimated 466,000 Pennsylvanians would receive an additional average rebate of $475.
- Support for Pennsylvania’s Healthcare System, $325 million
“This investment would recognize healthcare workers for their heroic dedication and hard work throughout the pandemic and give healthcare providers resources to recruit and retain a skilled workforce:
– $250 million for long-term care recruitment and retention incentives and workforce development initiatives to grow the critical healthcare workforce;
– $40 million for the behavioral health workforce to expand county mental health programs; and
– $35 million to expand the student loan forgiveness program at PHEAA to include additional critical healthcare workers.”Gov. Wolf announces $15 million for gun violence prevention, calls for community safety
- “Growing Greener” Investing in Conservation, Recreation & Preservation, $450 million
“Pennsylvania must continue to invest in vital conservation, recreation, preservation, and community revitalization projects and address the threat of climate change. Gov. Wolf’s plan proposes new funding for the Growing Greener conservation and recreation program as well as for agriculture conservation programs, such as the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program and the existing Agriculture Conservation Excellence Grant Program.
After experiencing record-breaking rainfall and flooding events this past year, this program would make Pennsylvania more resilient in the face of more extreme and frequent weather events caused by climate change. It would support our economy, enhance our communities, and improve quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. “
Any American Rescue Plan money unused by December 31, 2024, will need to be returned to the federal government.