Senator Yudichak: Senate Passes $912 million COVID Relief Package

Harrisburg, January 27, 2021 — State Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that the Senate has approved a comprehensive $912 million relief package to help restaurants, schools, employers, and tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pennsylvania families and Pennsylvania small businesses are still suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic and deserve the full, unwavering support of their government,” said State Senator John Yudichak. “Supporting workers who have lost their jobs, investing in our children’s education, and getting our businesses back on the path to economic recovery are all essential elements of helping Pennsylvania get beyond the pandemic.”

Senate Bill 109 allocates $569.8 million for Rental and Utility Assistance, $197 million for education programs, and $145 million to support Pennsylvania’s struggling hospitality industry.

Federal funding for rental and utility assistance would be proportionally distributed to counties based on their population. The conditions set under Senate Bill 109 for the program are to ensure the funding is used prudently and responsibly with the intention of providing a financial safety net for tenants and landlords. Funding for the Rental and Utility Assistance program would be provided by federal Coronavirus stimulus money as part of H.R. 133, Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021.

The $197 million for education, which is also supported by federal funding, would be used to create a $150 million competitive grant program under the Department of Education to assist non-public schools that have been impacted by the pandemic and have not received government assistance.

The remaining $47 million would provide: $17.5 million for Career and Technical Centers; $17.5 million for Intermediate Units; $7.075 million for charter schools for the deaf and blind and approved private schools; and, $5 million for the State System of Higher Education to support its restructuring initiative.

The third component in the sweeping relief package would transfer $145 million from the Workers’ Compensation Security Fund to the COVID-19 Response Restricted Account to provide county block grants to assist the hospitality industry, including restaurants, bars and hotels.

Grants would be provided in increments of $5,000 up to $50,000. Grants may not be used to pay for the same operating expenses already covered by a federal PPP loan or the state’s prior $225 million Small Business Assistance Program.

Senate Bill 109 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 

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