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Local business officials say Senate Bill 109 is a step towards progress but still a long way to go in economic relief

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed Senate Bill 109 which includes over $900 million to provide relief for Pennsylvania residents and business owners.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania has taken yet another step forward into the relief amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.

On Friday, Gov. Wolf signed Senate Bill 109, which will provide over $145 million to businesses, $570 million to those Pennsylvanian's struggling to pay rent, and $197 million to educational institutions that did not receive funding from the federal coronavirus aid in December 2020 federal coronavirus recovery package.

Restaurants and bars have been some of the hardest-hit businesses due to COVID-19. 

York County Chapter President of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association James Delisio Jr., says the Senate bill is a step forward, but there is still much more work to do.

“It’s a step in the right direction but it really needs to come full circle and we need more money and we need it fast or you’re going to see an onslaught of businesses still going out of business permanently," said Delisio.

Many agree with Delisio including Sen. Scott Martin who says the biggest need right now, is for businesses to have the right to operate.

It’s only going to cover your expenses for so long- so at the end of the day we’ve got a find a way to operate safely, but the keyword, the two keywords, operate and safely." said Sen. Martin.

Delisio adds that the restrictions are only being added to local businesses making the playing field unfair compared to large franchises.

"We've been taking the brunt of this mitigation effort- why don't we do some mitigation effort to Walmart, Giant and Home Depot and let them to some curbside service," said Delisio, "these people are having record years and small businesses, and restaurants are going out of business. 

Though millions of dollars in allocations have been added in Senate Bill 109, a new proposal has also been passed in the bill.

Democrat State Representative of the 25th District of Allegheny County Brandon Markosek, motioned for a tax exemption on stimulus payments.

"I wanted to make sure that my bill was put in Pennsylvania to coincide the federal program as well just to make sure that people knew their payments would not be taxed," said Rep. Markosek.

Rep. Markosek also noted there was a bipartisan effort to approve his portion of the bill.

As the country moves into the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, both sides of the spectrum agree the country still needs help. However, it is how the help is given is where differences lie.

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