Gov. Tom Wolf has asked state lawmakers to accept his idea to pay most Pennsylvanians a check using unclaimed federal COVID funds.
According to KDKA money editor Jon Delano, the state legislature’s Republican majority appears to oppose the concept.
Wolf has stated that he intends to spend $500 million of the $2.2 billion in unspent federal COVID relief funds to provide a one-time state stimulus cheque to most Pennsylvanians.
At a Reading event on Thursday, Wolf stated, “This is not some huge theoretical idea.” “This is something that says, ‘Could we take some of this money and distribute it to Pennsylvanians for $2,000?'”
“You are eligible if your household income is $80,000 or less. And for what is it worth $2,000? You can have whatever you want, “the governor stated.
According to state Sen. Devlin Robinson, a Bridgeville Republican, former President Trump and Vice President Biden received congressional approval for their federal stimulus checks. Still, Wolf’s state stimulus plan has received a cold reception in the Republican-controlled legislature in Harrisburg so far.
“Is the governor correct in saying that we will lose it if we don’t use this money?” Delano asks.
Robinson: I’m not sure. “He is correct that if we do not use the money, we will lose it. However, there are better ways to spend the funds. Bridges are collapsing all over the city here in Pittsburgh. We have a large number of closures.”
Robinson, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, claims that his Republican colleagues are opposed to stimulus cheques, preferring to spend the money on bridge work on I-79 rather than tolls.
“I get the impression that there are just better ways to spend that money. I wouldn’t have a strategy to pay $2,000 if people waited for it to arrive in their bank account, “Robinson explains.
He also wants to put money aside in case of future shortfalls.
“The problem with these stimulus payments is that they obscure the current budget’s inequity,” he continues.
Jason Gottesman, a spokesman for the House Republican caucus, said Republicans, who control the state House, are opposed to the proposal, and he believes they’re not alone.
“Even among Democrats, there is no agreement on spending this money,” Gottesman argues.
According to Wolf, the Republican legislature should move immediately to provide direct help to households who have been impacted hard by inflation.
“I believe we’re all willing to hear what the other side has in mind for that money. But it has to be in Pennsylvanians’ pockets, and it has to be in their pockets right now. “Wolf thinks that
“It won’t be next week. Not six months down the road, but right now. Because that’s when those things are happening. The pain is being felt right now, and we can do something about it, “the governor continues.
Of course, there will be no state stimulus cheque without Republican support.
However, it is an election year, and what Republican members hear from their constituents may be the deciding factor. Everything is conceivable in Harrisburg, as Robinson puts it.