(Harrisburg) – Facing an uncertain economic future and working to address the devastating impact of COVID-19, the Senate today (May 28) set a course for recovery by approving a $25.8 billion interim budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21 as well as a plan to direct $2.6 billion in federal CARES funding to support individuals, small businesses, organizations and county governments that were most severely impacted by the virus, according to Senator Pat Stefano (R-32).
The interim budget will fund critical state services until the long-term impacts of Governor Wolf’s shutdown of the economy are fully known and more accurate fiscal projections can be made. The CARES funding will help mitigate the damage done.
“We need to do everything in our power as a Commonwealth to get the state back to work,” Senator Stefano said. “Passing a lean, responsible, short-term budget now gives us the flexibility to meet the needs of our communities today while we get a clearer picture of the long-term impacts of Governor Wolf’s statewide shutdown order.”
House Bill 2387 is an interim spending plan that provides five months of funding for most state agencies and services for FY 2020-21. The appropriations in HB 2387 are based primarily on current funding for agencies and services in the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget but allocated at a five-month level. Full-year funding is provided for a few select line items in HB 2387, notably for education and food security programs.
Senate Bill 1108 appropriates a portion of Pennsylvania’s federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) funding for critical needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, while Senate Bill 1122 and House Bill 2510 provide further direction on how Commonwealth agencies are to distribute the funding.
Regarding this package of bills, Senator Stefano said, “the initial distribution of Pennsylvania’s share of the federal COVID-19 funding under Senate Bill 1108 will provide financial support to counties, small businesses, and community programs where the need is the greatest. We must deliver essential assistance to those on ground-zero of the outbreak, namely our fire and EMS workers, as well as long-term living service providers.”
Highlights of the CARES funding package include:
- $625 million for counties that did not receive a direct subsidy from the federal government.
- $225 million to help Pennsylvania’s small businesses recover.
- $175 million to provide rent and mortgage assistance to low- and middle–income families impacted by the pandemic.
- $692 million for long-term living services providers.
- $260 million for providers of intellectual disability and autism services.
- $150 million to help school districts meet the challenges created by COVID-19 through school safety and security funding.
- $116 million for child-care services.
- $72.2 million to support higher education students.
- $50 million to support first responders.
- $40 million for agricultural and food insecurity programs.
- $28 million for community programs, including domestic violence programs ($10 million), homeless assistance ($10 million) and legal services ($8 million).
- $20 million for Cultural and Museum organizations.
- $9 million for early childhood education programs ($7 million for Pre-K Counts and $2 million for Head Start Supplemental Assistance).
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