HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf will sign legislation approved Friday by lawmakers that carries over $900 million in pandemic-driven aid for hard-hit hospitality businesses, private schools and people struggling to pay rent or utility bills.
Both chambers passed the bill unanimously Friday and Wolf’s office said he will sign it. In addition to distributing money, the bill carries a provision designed to clear up any uncertainty over whether federal pandemic aid, including Paycheck Protection Program loans and direct federal payments to taxpayers, are taxable as income in Pennsylvania. It is not, under the bill.
Most of the $912 million being allocated in the bill is federal aid approved by Congress in December.
Some of it, $145 million, is cash from a state worker’s compensation fund that Wolf asked lawmakers to send to businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
The money would be available through counties in grants of up to $50,000 for bars, restaurants and hotels with under 300 employees, although industry representatives say the cash won’t reach many of the 30,000 such businesses that remain under pandemic restrictions in Pennsylvania.
The majority of the money, $570 million, would be divided up to counties based on population to help people struggling to pay rent or utilities. Landlords and tenants would be eligible to apply.
The rest of the money, $197 million, would be distributed to private schools and other educational institutions that did not get a cut of the $2.2 billion in federal coronavirus aid that public schools and charter schools are receiving under December’s package.