Pennsylvania leaders disagree on the best way to spend remaining $1.7 billion ARPA funds

(The Middle Sq.) – How Pennsylvania leaders will spend the remainder of the state’s $1.7 billion from the federal American Rescue Plan Act stays unclear, with each side maligning the spending priorities of the opposite.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf launched a plan in February that will use the funds in 5 totally different areas:

  • $500 million for baby care and bills associated to incomes a level, credential, or license.

  • $450 million for environmental conservation and recreation.

  • $325 million for well being care (recruitment and retention, behavioral well being, and scholar mortgage forgiveness).

  • $225 million for small enterprise help.

  • $204 million for property tax reduction for low-income renters and owners.

“My plan won’t solely assist Pennsylvanians get well and rebuild monetary safety for themselves and their households, however it is going to enhance the standard of life for Pennsylvanians for generations to come back,” Wolf stated.

Wolf’s argument has been that Pennsylvania’s funds is wholesome and federal cash needs to be spent for fast wants.

“That cash is sitting round, not serving to anybody proper now and at a time when the folks of this Commonwealth are hurting, that’s simply fallacious,” Wolf stated at a March 24 press convention.

Republicans, pointing to an evaluation from the Unbiased Fiscal Workplace, have been much less optimistic in regards to the state of the funds.

“The proposals by the governor and Democratic leaders had been developed in a fiscal fantasyland the place concern for future fiscal years apparently doesn’t exist,” stated a joint assertion from joint assertion from Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster; Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre/Mifflin; and Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York.

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As a substitute of Wolf’s spending plan, they pointed to investments in well being care and stated they’d “prudently use taxpayer assets to maneuver Pennsylvania forward.”

The Pennsylvania state authorities acquired about $7.3 billion in ARPA funding, virtually 8% of its complete spending in fiscal yr 2020, in keeping with the Commonwealth Basis. The state is compelled by federal legislation to spend its remaining ARPA funds by the top of 2024.