By Joe Mueller | The Center Square
(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf joined state Rep. David Delloso in Folcroft to reintroduce a program to give $2,000 checks where annual household is less than $80,000.
“I hear directly from so many people all across the commonwealth, day after day, about how much this program would mean to them and their families,” Wolf said during a press conference. “For many Pennsylvanians, this really is a make-or-break opportunity. So I’m not going to stop fighting until the people of Pennsylvania get the help they deserve and they get the help they need.”
Wolf first introduced the Pennsylvania Opportunity Program in February and blamed Republicans for not adopting it during the budget process.
“The Republican leaders in the General Assembly just wouldn’t get on board with funding it in this year’s budget and wouldn’t even get on board funding it out of federal ARPA funds,” Wolf said, referring to the state’s $2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to recover from the pandemic.
Republicans replied the plan championed by the two Democrats at a Monday press conference will lead to increased inflation.
“It was Governor Wolf who abandoned this idea during budget negotiations to achieve other priorities, and he, like us, knows it rightly belongs on the cutting room floor since it will only lead to increased costs on Pennsylvanians by continuing to drive inflation,” Jason Gottesman, spokesman for House Republicans, told The Morning Call.
Wolf’s February proposal outlined $1.7 billion in spending of ARPA funds and included $500 million for the first Pennsylvania Opportunity Program. He said the assistance to 250,000 families throughout the state would be most helpful and disagreed it would contribute to inflation.
“It would take, say, $500 million to make sure 250,000 families across Pennsylvania get this in a $700 billion economy; that’s a drop in the bucket,” Wolf said. “I don’t think that would have much of an inflationary impact. What it would do is help people pay their bills.”
Delloso, who is introducing the legislation, provided a long list of obstacles Pennsylvanians are dealing with due to inflation.
“The Pennsylvania Opportunity Fund will serve as a one-stop shop for Pennsylvanians to access direct financial assistance,” Delloso said. “It will assist them with the high cost of child care and after-school care, invest in their education and training to complete their degree, credential or license, strengthen their ability to earn increased wages and to pursue jobs that offer a better quality of life.”