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PACARES

PROVIDING RELIEF FOR WORKING PEOPLE IN A TIME OF CRISIS

PA CARES 21 Plan

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Thousands of Pennsylvanians have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling, through no fault of their own. About $2.6 million in federal coronavirus aid, intended to help spur recovery across the U.S., was directed to critical areas in May. However, the Republican-controlled legislature chose to direct the remaining $1.3 billion in recovery funding to help fill Pennsylvania’s budget deficits. That decision has left thousands of Pennsylvanians without a lifeline as the pandemic continues and cases are on the rise. Sign the petition for the Pennsylvania CARES 21 plan proposed by the Pennsylvania Senate Democrats. The $4 billion plan would direct money to programs and areas of need that would help working individuals and families, small businesses, front-line workers, and more.

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Pennsylvania Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act of 2021

“PA CARES 21”

A State-Funded Stimulus Plan to Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Aiming to stimulate Pennsylvania’s economy by providing direct aid to workers, families, small businesses and other vulnerable populations, the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus announced a bold, innovative $4 billion pandemic relief plan Friday morning.

The Pennsylvania Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act of 2021 (PA CARES 21) Plan would fund previously existing aid programs and establish new programs to help struggling Pennsylvanians and struggling areas of the commonwealth’s economy.

“Folks have not seen pandemic-specific relief from the state or federal government since last spring, yet thousands remain unemployed, underemployed and struggle with their housing and utility bills. This cannot go on any longer,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “There are immediate needs in communities across this state that must be addressed immediately. We are in the middle of another surge in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. We need help to recover, personally and financially; the state must play an active role in that recovery and that is what our plan today does.”

Highlights

1.3 Billion to support working families, businesses, children
1.3 Billion to support working families, businesses, children
Round 2 Overview

Frequently Asked Questions

What are we announcing?
Senate Democrats are announcing the introduction of the Pennsylvania Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act of 2021, or “PA CARES 21,” an economic stimulus and financial assistance plan to help Pennsylvanians deal with the physical, financial, and economic devastation COVID-19 continues to inflict on our commonwealth.

PA CARES 21 authorizes the commonwealth to issue $4 billion in emergency debt to (1) recapitalize programs previously funded with federal CARES funds pursuant to Acts 2A, 24 and 30 of 2020 and (2) establish new programs that provide targeted assistance to struggling Pennsylvanians and struggling sectors of the Pennsylvania economy.

Why are we announcing this proposal now?
This is the Senate Democrats’ priority as we begin the 2021-2022 legislative session.

Time is of the essence. COVID-19 is surging in Pennsylvania with cases rising daily. People continue to get sick, workers continue to lose their jobs, businesses continue to close, and our educational system continues to be disrupted. Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians are suffering and need support now.

The 2021-2022 legislative session does not officially begin until January 5, 2021. How do you reconcile that fact with your belief that “time is of the essence.”
With this announcement, Senate Democrats are hoping to jumpstart the conversation on providing COVID-19 assistance with the other caucuses and the Governor. We believe that we can negotiate through December and have an agreed-to final plan that can be ready for committee consideration on January 5, 2021 and that can pass both chambers by January 11, 2021. If a plan comes together quickly, we would be open to the Governor convening a special session of the General Assembly in December to speed up the process.
Wouldn’t a new federal stimulus package be preferable to a state-solution?
Yes. But we can no longer wait for the federal government to act. The Trump Administration has surrendered to the pandemic and abdicated its responsibility to protect American citizens. Trump’s indifference has costs hundreds of thousands of American lives. While the incoming Biden/Harris Administration has committed to enacting a stimulus plan, Pennsylvanians cannot wait until the Biden/Harris Administration takes office in January 2021. They need help now.
The recently enacted FY 2020-21 General Fund Budget was balanced in part by using $1.3B in federal CARES funds despite the fact those funds were intended to be used to help Pennsylvanians mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Was that decisions wrong? If so, why did some Senate Democrats support it?
Senate Democrats strongly advocated for using federal CARES funds to assist Pennsylvanians and boost the economy. In April, we released our PA CARES plan, a large portion of which was included in the first round of CARES funds approved by the General Assembly. In October, we released our priorities for spending the remaining $1.3 billion in CARES funds to provide a second round of stimulus funding. Ultimately, the decision was made to use those funds to help balance the budget. It was not our preference, but the decision did not absolve our caucus of our responsibility to govern in a bi-partisan manner and ensure a budget crisis was not piled on top of the pandemic.
What if the federal government reaches agreement on a new federal plan in the next few weeks? Do you believe this plan is still necessary?
It would be great if the federal government struck a deal, but we don’t believe we can wait any longer for it to happen. If a federal stimulus plan passes, we’ll evaluate it to determine whether it meets the needs of the commonwealth. It may mean that we repurpose some of the funding laid out here or take some other action. The commonwealth’s needs are great.
Q: Do you think the Republican-controlled General Assembly will entertain a $4 billion bond issue considering their historic aversion to borrowing?
We are in a crisis. People are suffering. The pandemic is not going away. We are about to enter what some experts are calling “COVID hell,” the “dark winter,” and the “darkest days of the pandemic.” (Coronavirus: U.S. prepares for worst four months of the pandemic (cnbc.com). If the Republican-controlled General Assembly opposes borrowing, they must tell the people of Pennsylvania why it’s a bad idea and what they plan to do instead. But they should know that for the people of Pennsylvania doing nothing is not an option and they will not accept their old, tired political mantra of “borrowing is bad” as an excuse to not act.

Besides the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the only entity that has the capacity to provide substantial resources to help our citizens. One of the core functions of government is to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens. If we can’t come together at this moment in the face of this unprecedented crisis and harness the power of state government to provide the financial relief that our citizens are desperately crying out for, then we have failed not only ourselves but those who we were sent to Harrisburg to represent.

How much does your proposal spend? What areas do you focus on?
Our proposal allocates $4 billion In the following areas:

Unemployment Compensation Protection $1.069 billion
Business Assistance $800 million
Local Government Assistance $595 million
Education (Pre-K thru Higher Ed) $411 million
DHS Programs $318.4 million
Transportation $180.4 million
Hazard Pay $135 million
Hospital Assistance $100 million
Housing Assistance $100 million
Utility Assistance $100 million
Child Care $75 million
Food Security $50 million
Public Safety $25 million
PPE/Vaccine Issues $25 million
Mental Health Programs $15 million

What is included under each of your categories?

Unemployment Compensation Protection: Covers 509,000 individuals currently collecting federal PEUC and PUA benefits that are set to expire on December 26 unless extended by Congress.  Claimants would receive $350/wk. for six weeks.

Business Assistance: Targeted funding for bars/restaurants/hospitality industry; additional funding for the current DCED/CDFI program for Main St. and Historically Disadvantaged Businesses; targeted funding for barbers/salons/personal care businesses, nonprofit organizations, and tourism/arts and culture organizations.             

Local Government Assistance: Funds for counties and municipalities that have seen reduced local revenues due to the pandemic.

Education: Additional funding to address the needs of the Pre-k thru 12 and Higher Education system.

DHS Programs: A second round of funding for certain DHS programs funded in Act 2A of 2020.  Funding would be at 40% of the Act 2A amount.

Transportation Systems: New funding for mass transit and commonwealth airports based on a percentage of that received from the federal government under the CARES Act.

Hazard Pay: Additional funding for hazard pay for frontline workers.  Over 100,000 frontline workers could benefit.

Hospital Assistance: Funding for hospitals that serve our Medicaid population.

Housing: New funds for housing and rental assistance Utility Assistance: Funds to help individuals in arrears on utility payments

Child Care: Additional funding for child-care providers to continue operating.

Food Security:  Additional funding for food banks, anti-hunger programs, and the agriculture industry.

Public Safety: Additional funding for EMS and Volunteer Fire Companies that have been impacted by the pandemic. 

PPE/Vaccine Issues: Funds to create a commonwealth PPE stockpile and to cover costs associated with uninsured individuals receiving the vaccine.

Mental Health Programs: Funding to ensure adequate programs exist to address the mental health impacts the pandemic is having on Pennsylvanians. 

How did you determine priorities for funding?

Pennsylvanians continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic.  With federal CARES funds, we focused on getting money into people’s pockets, protecting our health care system and frontline workers, ensuring the viability of our education system, and assisting our small businesses.  We continue that commitment with PA CARES 21, while expanding to areas that have shown a real need for assistance. 

Will you use existing programs or create new programs to drive out the funds?

Where appropriate, this proposal utilizes the programs created under Act 24 of 2020 to drive out the funds.  If proposed funding does not fit into an existing program (e.g., utility assistance), a new program will be created. 

Additionally, we support fixing programs created by Act 24 (e.g., PHFA’s rental assistance program) as requested by stakeholders to maximize program effectiveness.

What form will the financial assistance take?

The funds will be allocated as grants to entities that are providing the goods and services we need.  Funds will not need to be repaid.

Are there restrictions on the use of these funds like the federal CARES Act.

PA CARES 21 funds are designed to be flexible.  However, they must be used for costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Unlike federal CARES funds, counties and municipalities may use these funds to replace local revenue lost due to the pandemic.  

What are the specifics of the bond issue?

Amount:                                  $4,000,000,000
Issuer:                                     Commonwealth Financing Authority
Proposed Term:                      25 years
Estimated Debt Service:         $190,000,000/yr.

How did you settle on $4 billion?

This is the approximate amount the commonwealth received under the federal CARES Act.  We wanted to match that amount to provide substantial relief to Pennsylvanians.

How will debt service be paid?

Annual debt service can be paid from any of the following sources:

  • Liquor Control Board revenues
  • Gaming revenues
  • Dedication of Personal Income Tax or Sales Tax revenues
    • The recently enacted budget included a one-time transfer of $200M in PIT revenue to the Property Tax Relief Fund. Beginning next year, that same amount can easily be shifted to debt service payments for this program
Does the bond issuance require voter approval via referendum?

No.  We do not believe a referendum is required based on the purpose and structure of the proposed bond issue.

Senate Democrats outlined the caucus priorities for spending the remaining $1.3 billion of Pennsylvania’s federal CARES funding. This announcement follows the release of our original PA CARES plan in April of this year. That plan was largely included in the first round of funding passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Wolf in May. The money must be spent by December 31st on COVID-19 related needs or the state loses the authority to use it at all.


Highlights

1.3 Billion to support working families, businesses, children
Round 2 Overview
1.3 Billion to support working families, businesses, children
Round 2 Overview
Round 2 Overview
Round 2 Overview
1.3 Billion to support working families, businesses, children
Round 2 Overview
Round 2 Overview
Round 2 Overview

Frequently Asked Questions

What are we announcing?
Today, Senate Democrats are announcing our caucus priorities for spending the remaining $1.3 billion of Pennsylvania’s federal CARES funding. This announcement follows the release of our original PA CARES plan in April of this year. That plan was largely included in the first round of funding passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Wolf in May. (Act 2A and Act 24 of 2020)
Why wasn’t all the money spent in May?

In May, the Senate, House of Representatives, and Governor Wolf worked together to drive out more $2.6 billion in federal CARES funds to help Pennsylvanians deal with the impacts of the coronavirus.

Acting quickly, we provided a lifeline to families, small businesses, counties, and others struggling through the pandemic. Our work reflected the best of bipartisanship as we came together to produce results for Pennsylvanians.

At that time, we also made the collective decision to retain some of the CARES funds (approximately $1.3 billion) to address unanticipated costs that could arise through the summer and fall. This was the right decision in May. However, circumstances have changed.

: Why now? What circumstances have changed to prompt this announcement?

First, Pennsylvanians can’t wait any longer for the financial assistance provided through the CARES Act.   People continue to suffer.  Businesses continue to close.  Pennsylvania’s COVID case numbers are rising again.  The end of the pandemic is nowhere in sight.  We need to act now.

Second, the Trump Administration and Mitch McConnell have failed Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians.  Today marks 155 days since House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, which provides close to $1 trillion to assist state and local governments.  Trump and McConnell have done nothing but offer inadequate half-measures that effectively punish state and local governments for the Trump Administration’s inept response to the pandemic. 

Third, some Republicans in Washington oppose more federal funding because they claim state and local governments have not spent their CARES funding.  Refusing to support more federal funding for Pennsylvania because we used a bipartisan approach and were cautious in spending our CARES funds is both ridiculous and disgraceful. 

However, if that argument continues to hold sway and we are being punished for being both bipartisan and prudent, then Pennsylvania needs to spend the remaining funds now so Washington has no excuse for not doing its job.    

What did we learn from the first round of CARES funding?

We learned a lot. 

First, the financial pain people are suffering was crystallized.  We see this from the sheer volume of requests received in programs created with CARES dollars: 

  • $225 million small/historically disadvantaged business program received over $850 million in funding requests;
  • $50 million essential worker hazard pay program received over $900 million in requests;
  • $25 million cultural and museum grant program received over $50 million in requests.

Second, more pain is on the horizon.  Thousands of Pennsylvanians currently protected by moratoriums on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs due to loss of work face dire consequences when the moratoriums are lifted if there is no safety net in place. 

Third, Act 2A and Act 24 left out many in need.  Our small, historically disadvantaged businesses and the restaurant, tavern and hospitality industry have been devastated.  Barbers, hair salons, personal care businesses, nonprofits and arts and culture organizations have closed or are on the verge of shutting their doors for good.  Childcare providers and our emergency medical services community are suffering.  The list is large; the need is great. 

How much does your proposal spend? What areas do you focus on?

Our proposal allocates approximately $1.3 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the following areas:

Business Assistance                                                $575 million

Child Care                                                                  $75 million

Food Security                                                            $15 million

General Fund Reimbursement                              $150 million

Hazard Pay                                                                 $100 million

Higher Education                                                      $141 million

Hospital Assistance                                                   $125 million

Public Safety                                                               $25 million

Utility Assistance                                                       $125 million

How did you determine priorities for funding?

Pennsylvanians continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic.  In Round 1 we focused on getting money into people’s pockets, protecting our health care system and frontline workers, ensuring the viability of our education system, and assisting our small businesses.  We continue that commitment in Round 2 while expanding to areas that have shown a real need for assistance. 

What is included under each of your categories?

Business Assistance: Targeted funding for bars/restaurants/hospitality industry; additional funding for the current DCED/CDFI program for Main St. and Historically Disadvantaged Businesses; targeted funding for barbers/salons/personal care businesses, nonprofit organizations, and tourism/arts and culture organizations. 

Child Care: Additional funding for child-care providers to continue operating.

Food Security:  Additional funding for food banks and anti-hunger programs.

General Fund Reimbursements: Funding for Covid-19-related costs to free up General Fund dollars, which will be used to replace lost gaming revenues used for school district property tax relief

Hazard Pay: Additional funding for hazard pay for frontline workers

Higher Education: Funding for higher education institutions for COVID-related expenses

Hospital Assistance: Funding for hospitals that serve our Medicaid population.

Public Safety: Additional funding for EMS and Volunteer Fire Companies that have been impacted by the pandemic. 

Will you use existing programs or create new programs to drive out the funds?

For the most part, this proposal utilizes the programs created under Act 24 to drive out the funds.  If proposed funding does not fit into an existing program (e.g., utility assistance), a new program will be created. 

Additionally, we support fixing programs created by Act 24 (e.g., PHFA’s rental assistance program) as requested by stakeholders to maximize program effectiveness.

What form will the financial assistance take?

Like Round 1, the funds will be allocated as grants to entities that are providing the goods and services we need.  Funds will not need to be repaid.

Is this remaining $1.3 billion enough to keep Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians afloat?

No. This money is not nearly enough.  It will help some people only temporarily, and it most cases not fully.  It is insufficient to address big issues like K-12 education and local government financial struggles.  We need more help from the federal government.  State and local governments cannot respond to the pandemic and the needs of our citizens on our own.  The financial challenges are too large and state and local resources too limited. 

Do you believe federal stimulus talks are dead?

We don’t know but we can’t wait any longer for them to act.  If another round of stimulus funding comes at some point in the future, we will address it.

Have you discussed these priorities with the Wolf Administration or the other caucuses?

We’ve had preliminary conversations at the senior staff level about allocating the remaining funds.  Some bills have moved out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Conversations are ongoing. 

We don’t consider this a partisan issue.  The Senate, the House, and the Governor must come together like we did in May and again produce results for the people of Pennsylvania.  Time is of the essence.

The Pennsylvania CARES Plan offers a set of spending priorities to best use the $3.9 billion in federal CARES ACT funding the commonwealth is set to receive. A major focus of the PA CARES Plan is funding initiatives that help individuals and families, such as housing assistance programs, student debt relief, veterans’ assistance, utility assistance, and food bank support.

Other aspects of the proposal include allocating additional assistance to frontline workers, funding for the health care industry and its workers, small business grants, and much-needed support communities disparately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. School districts and local governments would also receive support to help offset pandemic-related expenses.

The Senate Democrats’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic remains focused on helping working people, families and Pennsylvania’s small businesses. Members of the caucus have a number of proposals to address COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts in Pennsylvania.


Highlights

PA CARES - $2.1B for assistance for working people
$650 for health care workers, first responders & front-line workers
$900M for education & child care
$450M for business & Agriculture
$300M for historical disadvantaged communities

Frequently Asked Questions

What are we announcing?
As you know, Pennsylvania will receive approximately $4 billion in federal funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund and various education-specific funds pursuant to the CARES Act.  As negotiations begin over the allocation of that funding, Senate Democrats are offering a set of priorities for spending those funds.
What are the restrictions on the use of CARES Act Fund?
All federal funds are one-time, nonrecurring funds. Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars must be used for costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as of now, the federal government prohibits their use to replace state and local tax revenue lost due to the pandemic. Other funds, including the education-related funds we allocate are more flexible.
Can Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars be used to close the looming budget deficit?
The position of the Trump Administration is that Coronavirus Relief Funds cannot be used to replace state and local tax revenues lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, these funds cannot be used to close the commonwealth’s pending budget gap. However, where budgeted costs have been used to respond to the pandemic, those funds may be replaced with CARES Act funds. We will work with the Wolf Administration and other caucuses to identify those potential costs.
How much does your proposal spend? What areas do you focus on?

Our proposal allocates approximately $3.9 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund over the following 10 areas:

                        Individuals/Families                                                    $1.1 billion

                        School Districts/Local Government                            $750 million

                        Health Care, First Responder & Frontline Workers    $650 million

                        Small Business                                                             $425 million

                        Historically Disadvantaged Communities                   $300 million

                        Higher Education                                                        $250 million

                        Child Care/Early Education                                         $150 million

                        State Government Infrastructure                               $100 million

                        Agriculture                                                                  $25 million

                        Election Security                                                         $25 million

The proposal also allocates $100 million from education-related funds for K-12 schools for expenses related to shifting to distance learning, including costs of equipment.

How did you determine priorities for funding?
Pennsylvanians are hurting, both physically and financially. We need to get money into people’s pockets, protect our health care system and frontline workers, ensure the viability of our education system, and assist our small businesses. The devastation this virus is having on Pennsylvania is unimaginable. State government must step in and provide relief to do those who need it most. That’s what we are trying to do.
What form will the financial assistance take?
The funds will be allocated as grants to entities that are providing the goods and services we need. Some individuals will receive an emergency stimulus check for costs related to things like housing and student loan assistance. Funds will not need to be repaid.
Have other federal funds been allocated in the areas you have prioritized?
In some cases, yes. For example, the commonwealth has received federal funds for food banks and election security. In areas we believe have a greater need, our proposal would supplement those other federal funds. If the areas we’ve identified end up with sufficient federal funds to complete the task, we may re-consider our priorities and re-direct funds to areas that have additional need.
What is included under each of your 10 categories?

Individuals/Families: Funding for housing assistance (including, homelessness, domestic violence, mortgage assistance, landlords, and legal services), student debt assistance, utility bill assistance, veterans assistance, and food banks

School Districts/Local Government: Funding for school district costs, including special education, and county and municipal government costs related to COVID-19.

Health Care: Funding for our safety net, including high Medicaid hospitals, Long-term Care facilities, and Community Health Centers.  Funding is also provided for comprehensive testing, tracing and tracking of COVID-19 and for our frontline workers, including hazard pay, post-traumatic stress treatment.  First responders also receive funding. 

Small Business: Grants to small business, nonprofits and specific sectors of the small business economy that have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Historically Disadvantaged Communities: Black and brown communities are being ravaged by COVID-19.  Education, testing and tracing are need in these communities.  In addition, businesses in these communities have been largely unsuccessful in securing federal small business funds.  Funding to address nutrition and access to fresh foods and vegetables will be provided along with emergency funding for the commonwealth’s two (2) Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Child Care/Early Education:  Our child-care and Pre-K operators are struggling to maintain operations.  These stresses will only increase as the economy starts to gradually re-open and parents go back to work.

State Government Infrastructure:  Clearly there have been some issues with agency responses to COVID-19.  We need to upgrade our infrastructure to address COVID-19 and future events that may strain our systems.

Agriculture:  Grants to ensure that our food supply chain can continue to function.

Election Security:  Funding to ensure that the June 2 primary election and the November general election are conducted in a safe and secure manner.

Have you discussed these priorities with the Wolf Administration or the other caucuses?
We’ve had preliminary conversations at the senior staff level about allocating these funds. We will continue those conversations as we work toward a final deal and a FY 20-21 budget.
Yea, what about the FY 20-21 budget?

Good question. Appropriations Committee staffs and the Budget Office have had preliminary discussions. No decisions have been made or timelines for action set. Certainly, a lot will depend on revenue collections. As mentioned, The Trump Administration for the most part has prohibited Coronavirus Relief Funds from being used to replace state and local tax revenues.

Even if Coronavirus Relief Funds could be used to fill our budget hole, or if another round of federal stimulus funding for state and local governments comes from Washington D.C., these are one-time funds. The IFO has projected that the permanent revenue loss in tax revenue for the commonwealth to be approximately $2.7 billion for FY 20-21 and 21-22. We need to be careful of using one-time revenues to plug recurring revenue holes. We also should not repeat the mistakes of the past by relying on massive budget cuts to fix our problems. That was the route taken coming out of the Great Recession in 2011 and the impacts were devastating on the commonwealth and its residents.

Our Members at Work

Senate Democrats Offer Restaurant & Tavern Recovery Legislation

Senate Democrats Offer Restaurant & Tavern Recovery Legislation

Harrisburg, Pa. – June 21, 2021 − After Republicans failed to pass a clean, bipartisan bill to extend mixed drinks to go for restaurants and taverns, the Pennsylvania Senate Democrats are introducing legislation that will provide the opportunity for bars, taverns and...

Sen. Brewster Applauds Passage of State-wide COVID-19 Relief Package

Sen. Brewster Applauds Passage of State-wide COVID-19 Relief Package

HARRISBURG, February 5, 2021 State Sen. Jim Brewster released the following statement on today’s passage of Senate Bill 109, a sweeping COVID relief package that, along with federal action, contains measures the former banker-turned-state Senator proposed more than...

Senator Tartaglione Applauds Wolf’s Proposal to Make $145 Million Available for Small Business Relief

Senator Tartaglione Applauds Wolf’s Proposal to Make $145 Million Available for Small Business Relief

Philadelphia, PA – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) applauded today’s announcement by Governor Tom Wolf of his intent to transfer $145 million from the state’s Workers’ Compensation Security Fund into the General Fund so that they may be reallocated for pandemic-related small business relief. Senator Tartaglione also urged her General Assembly colleagues to grant the legislative authorization required to appropriate the funds as grants to small businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.


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Tartaglione, PA Senate Democrats Unveil $4 Billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Plan

Tartaglione, PA Senate Democrats Unveil $4 Billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Plan

PA CARES 21 would assist families, workers, businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, first responders, local governments, and other entities that have been devastated financially by the pandemic. Philadelphia, PA – December 4, 2020 − State...

Comitta, State Senators Call for State Pandemic Relief Plan

Comitta, State Senators Call for State Pandemic Relief Plan

PA CARES 21 Allocates $300 Million for Restaurants and Bars  WEST CHESTER (December 4, 2020) – State Senator-Elect Carolyn Comitta joined more than a dozen state senators in announcing a $4 billion pandemic relief plan to provide direct aid to workers, families, small...

Senators Costa & Hughes Slam Republican Inaction on Federal CARES Funds

Senators Costa & Hughes Slam Republican Inaction on Federal CARES Funds

HARRISBURG – October 29, 2020 – Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and Senate Democratic Appropriations Chair Senator Vincent Hughes and members of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus today slammed House and Senate Republicans for recessing the General Assembly until mid-November without passing legislation to drive out Pennsylvania’s remaining $1.3 billion in federal CARES funds to Pennsylvanians suffering the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.


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PA Senate Democrats Unveil Plan to Spend $1.3 Billion in Remaining Cares Funds

PA Senate Democrats Unveil Plan to Spend $1.3 Billion in Remaining Cares Funds

Harrisburg − October 16, 2020 − Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus today outlined a plan to spend the remaining $1.331 billion in CARES money that Pennsylvania received as part of a federal assistance package earlier this year.

Senator Costa Announces $1.6 Million In Cultural Grants For The Region

Pittsburgh, PA - September 15, 2020 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. today announced the award of $1,654,233 in cultural grants for the 43rd senatorial district. Today’s grants are funded by money allocated to the state in the CARES Act, a federal recovery...

Senate Committee Unanimously Advances Tartaglione-Costa Legislation to Fund PA Higher Education Institutions

Philadelphia, PA – September 9, 2020 − The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by State Senator Christine Tartaglione and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa that would allocate $130 million in federal CARES Act funding to help higher education institutions in the Commonwealth manage financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senators Jim Brewster & Pam Iovino Propose $100 Million COVID-19 Grant Program & Financial Relief Package for PA Restaurants & Taverns  

Senators Jim Brewster & Pam Iovino Propose $100 Million COVID-19 Grant Program & Financial Relief Package for PA Restaurants & Taverns  

Allegheny County, PA – July 23, 2020 – Today, State Senators Jim Brewster and Pam Iovino announced a comprehensive proposal to provide emergency relief to Pennsylvania’s restaurants and taverns, which have seen significant financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown. The seven-point plan includes a $100 million grant program to retail liquor licensees using federal CARES Act funds, as well as a suite of policy changes to financially benefit these struggling businesses.

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