Pennsylvania businesses still need bailout, lawmakers must act
Representative Joanna McClinton
Recently, the state of New Jersey invested $ 235 million in US bailout funds to help small community businesses like bars, restaurants, and startups recover from COVID-19 and keep their doors open. .
Then the Garden State added $ 100 million to help create and grow child care programs because working parents deserve peace of mind at work.
The Republican governor and GOP-controlled legislature in Ohio recently invested $ 155 million in US bailout funds to help small community businesses hit hard by COVID-19 in Buckeye State.
Here in Pennsylvania? It was February – before the US bailout even existed – when we fought and won to create a $ 145 million program to help the hospitality industry, but since then Republicans in charge of the legislature considered all the chances of truly rebuilding our economy. from the community to the top and they cut and ran.
After:Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a budget on time, but here’s what they failed to do
In a year when we had a budget surplus of over $ 3 billion, in addition to over $ 7 billion in US bailout money, the Republican majority decided to lock most of it in. a government safe for a “rainy day” in the future – as if the virus hadn’t been the most violent storm that has plagued our workers and business owners in over a hundred years.
As our economy rebounds, the facts are clear: According to a study by the PA Budget and Policy Center, small business incomes are still down 28% in Pennsylvania compared to pre-pandemic profits and, tragically, close to ‘one in four businesses that were operational before the pandemic are now shut down.
It is businesses that create jobs and support our communities; the money spent in these local businesses is being reinvested with us – and we haven’t done enough.
The fight is far from over. We will continue to work for our Pennsylvania bailout and to make sure these federal dollars go where they do the most good. We need to help the businesses on Main Street and the working families living on Elm Street.
Our plan – including measures backed by some of the more pro-business groups like the PA Chamber of Commerce and Industry – would invest in the small local businesses that have had the hardest time keeping their doors open. during the pandemic – the mom-and-pop businesses that create the jobs that support their communities. Here are some examples of how we’re going to do it without raising taxes by investing over $ 1 billion to do things like:
• Support businesses like theaters, gyms, and social organizations that couldn’t stay open or work remotely.
• Fund grants to create new jobs in areas of opportunity across the state.
• Help connect rural and urban areas to high-speed internet and invest in other vital infrastructure like clean water.
• Improve access to affordable child care so that working parents can have peace of mind at work.
These are just a few parts of our plan; they would bring us closer to what our neighboring states are already doing.
We want to do even more, like investing over $ 1 billion in working families and seniors with things like a risk premium for essential workers, creating a sick and family leave program and supporting affordable housing.
We want to invest in careers with better wages and benefits by helping students pay for training in high-wage, high-demand industries, and helping people prepare for an after-work life by creating a program state-run that our workers can choose to access. invest in their own retirement.
We also want to invest in our sixth largest industry: healthcare. We want to increase the remuneration of caregivers, expand access to telehealth and support the biotechnology industry.
We need your help – please contact your local lawmakers and tell them that we must invest in the present to build a better future we all deserve, not hide money out of fear. Tell them our community businesses need the Pennsylvania bailout.
Leader Joanna McClinton, a Democrat, represents the 191st District of the House, which includes parts of the counties of Philadelphia and Delaware.