Keystone State residents can get another round of incentives.
- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf hopes to share more money from the U.S. rescue plan.
- The primary obstacle to yet another stimulus check appears to be the state legislature.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf wants state legislators to release the $ 2 billion of U.S. bailout money they have been sitting on. Specifically, Wolf wants some of the money invested in the Pennsylvanians’ bank accounts. His proposal is referred to as the “Pennsylvania Opportunity Plan.”
‘Working families have been stretched. Their wallets have been stretched to the limit. With the recent dramatic price increases, they have actually been stretched beyond their limits, ”Wolf said.
According to the governor’s office, the plan is to help families who are still recovering financially from the pandemic. In addition to covering pandemic-related expenses, the funds are intended to help households better manage the rising cost of living.
Who would receive Pennsylvania stimulants?
Under Wolf’s plan, households with incomes of $ 80,000 or less will receive up to $ 2,000. Specifically, households earning $ 50,000 or less will receive a one-time payment of $ 2,000. Households with an income between $ 50,000 and $ 80,000 would receive $ 1,500.
If the legislature passes the bill, checks would come from the Pennsylvania Treasury and not be taxed as income.
Wolf’s $ 1.7 billion proposal includes $ 225 million in support for small businesses, $ 325 million in state health care, $ 204 million in direct property tax relief and $ 450 million in earmarking to invest in the preservation, preservation and revitalization of communities across the state. . In other words, the stimulus money will go back to the local economy.
The Governor’s reasoning
Speaking at the Pocono Family YMCA on April 14, Wolf said: “Pennsylvaniaers should not have to choose between paying for supplies or groceries, child care or gas. We have the opportunity and the means to ensure that they do not struggle, to ensure their success. I ask the General Assembly to unite across the aisles on this for the sake of everyone in Pennsylvania – because when they succeed, our commonwealth will succeed. Let’s get this money out of our coffers and into the pockets of Pennsylvania residents. ”
Today, Pennsylvania has more than $ 10.7 billion in its account, and state leaders expect a profit of $ 2.5 billion. It makes sense that Wolf and his fellow Democrats see this as a good time to help struggling families get through the rest of the pandemic.
Not everyone is excited
It seems that bias is as much an issue in state legislatures as in the federal government. Wolf is a Democrat. Both the Pennsylvania House and the Senate are controlled by Republicans.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Republicans are slow to get on board. For example, Treasurer Stacy Garrity has urged lawmakers to look further down the road to 2026. This is the year the independent tax office estimates the state will have a $ 1.4 billion deficit and spend more than it generates in taxes .
Governor Wolf has reminded lawmakers that states are required to spend money from the American Rescue Plan by December 21, 2024, or return the funds to the federal government.
Is there a need?
Today, however, 13.6% of Pennsylvania’s residents live in poverty, and in March, unemployment was 4.9%. And these statistics are not aimed at those who work hard every day and barely earn enough to keep themselves afloat.
Kristina Valdez, CEO of the social action group Along the Way, sums it up this way: “This money will help the hard-working people our agency serves to keep their light and heat on so they can get ready for work and pay for their car maintenance so it passes sight. It will enable them to continue to show up to work in the companies we all depend on in our society. ”
Clearly, Pennsylvania has the funds it needs to send a round of stimulus checks. What is less clear is whether the state legislature will stand behind the proposal.
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