COVID-19 relief bill moves to governor’s desk

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Senate Bill 109, a COVID-19 relief bill, heads to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk for his signature following passage in the state House of Representatives.

The bill allocates $145 million in grants to the restaurant and hospitality industry, $197 million in funding for various educational institutions, and $570 million for rental and utility assistance. It also clarifies funding received by businesses from the federal Paycheck Protection Program is not subject to state income taxes.

The Department of Community and Economic Development will distribute the $145 million to each county to award grants to small businesses of up to $50,000.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education will distribute the $150 million in funding to private schools, career and technical schools, community colleges, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and chartered schools for the deaf and blind.

The Department of Human Services will distribute the rental and utility assistance funding to the counties.

“Today’s legislative action will help keep thousands of people in their homes, provide assistance that allows small businesses to stay afloat, and assist schools in taking necessary steps to keep their students, teachers, and staff healthy and safe as we continue to work through the pandemic,” state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) said.

“The funding provided from this package will provide much-needed assistance, but the focus must remain on expanding vaccine access and defeating this virus once and for all,” Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said.