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State leaders react to Gov. Wolf's $1.7 billion pandemic recovery plan

Gov. Wolf's $1.7 billion plan to help Pennsylvania recover from the pandemic is causing a divide across the political aisle.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Governor Wolf rolled out a $1.7 billion plan to guide pandemic recovery across the state on Wednesday.

Out of the funding in this plan:

  • $500 million will go towards career help for Pennsylvanians
  • $225 million will go to small businesses
  • $204 million will go to the state's tax rebate program
  • $352 million will go to healthcare systems
  • $450 million will go to recreation projects across the state

This plan is funded by American Rescue Act dollars. However, Pennsylvania House republicans are not pleased.

"We don't have to go back to the taxpayers for them to pay more," said Jason Gottesman, House Republican Caucus Spokesperson. "They've already suffered enough as a result of this governor's business shutdowns, school closures [and] record unemployment."

Gottesman said there needs to be a targeted approach that keeps taxes low and spending in check.

Meanwhile, education leaders across the state are supportive of this bill, but they too believe something is missing.

"We are 45th in terms of state funding in the entire country, and we have some of the most unequally funded schools in the state," explained Marc Stier, the director of PA Budget & Policy Center.

Marc Stier stood with House and Senate Democrats in calling for a $3.5 billion plan for Pennsylvania schools.

"If you compare how much they're lacking in schools that are fairly prosperous and schools where a lot of people are living in poverty, the difference is about 10-1," he said.

Still, Gov. Wolf is receiving support from House Democrats and healthcare union leadership.

"We appreciate and applaud Governor Wolf for responding to the needs of Pennsylvanians and proposing immediate utilization of ARPA funds to ease the burdens so many workers and families face due to the pandemic," said Matthew Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare PA.

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