WEST READING, Pa. – It's a potential financial lifeline for small businesses in Berks County and across Pennsylvania — millions in grant money for those hit hardest.
"It's been transferred already to the General Fund," said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. "It's no longer in the Workers Compensation Fund. It's $145 million. It is new money. It's ready to go out."
Yet in the general fund, the money stays stuck, according to Republican lawmakers.
Jason Gottesman, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus, released a statement on behalf of the lawmakers, stating, in part, "To our knowledge, [Gov. Wolf] has not transferred any money in furtherance of his plan and has not engaged with House Republican leadership on this or any relief initiative on any level."
The statement also read, "Over the past ten months, Gov. Tom Wolf has repeatedly shut down whole sectors of Pennsylvania's economy on his own initiative to the utter devastation of mom and pop main street stores, small to mid-sized businesses, and the hospitality industry."
Small businesses, like those in West Reading, have continued to stress the importance of more financial support at the state and federal levels in order to survive this pandemic.
"All of us are eager to work together," said Wolf. "Republicans and Democrats to work with Republican leadership to get this money out the door quickly."
Wolf's office said legislative authorization is required to use the funds to create grants. This week, the House GOP formed a caucus task force to develop economic recovery policy.
Small businesses anxiously await a resolution in Harrisburg from those on both sides of the issue so that the money can soon get into the hands of those behind struggling storefronts.