Governor Tom Wolf urged the Pennsylvania General Assembly to act on funding small businesses while the body is in session this week.
“Small businesses have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Wolf. “The Small Business Assistance Program has seen immense success, but further support is needed to support our small businesses and strengthen the economy. I am calling on the General Assembly to approve additional funds to support our small businesses. We cannot let another week go by without addressing this need.”
As part of his fall legislative agenda, Governor Wolf called on the General Assembly to provide an additional $225 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding in the form of forgivable loans and grants to small businesses in Pennsylvania through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. In addition, the governor proposed $100 million in forgivable loans and grants for the hospitality, leisure and service industries, including restaurants and bars, salons and barber shops.
The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the CARES Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses, including historically disadvantaged businesses.
To date, more than 10,000 businesses were approved for $192 million in grants through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. However, as the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, it is imperative that further funding be allocated to help small businesses that were not awarded in the first two rounds of funding, or that face ongoing hardship.
“So many of Pennsylvania’s small businesses have taken on additional work and costs to do the right thing and keep their employees and customers safe since reopening,” Gov. Wolf said. “They are doing everything right, and they need our help to continue to make ends meet.
“We held back a portion of Pennsylvania’s CARES Act funding so that we could address the commonwealth’s needs this fall. There is a need for additional funding for Pennsylvania’s small businesses right now, and I implore the General Assembly to take action without delay to support our small business community.”