$225 Million in Grants for Small Business Affected by COVID-19
On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf announced a statewide program that would provide $225 million in funds to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and non-essential business closure order.
We have saved thousands of lives through the statewide shutdown orders, but we cannot deny the serious impact that these necessary closures have had on our small business community.
The funding for this grant program comes from the federal CARES Act money appropriated to Pennsylvania.
The Senate Democrats proposed this small business funding in our PA CARES Act. You can read our full PA CARES Act proposal and the legislative progress we have made so far at pasenate.com/pacares.
The $225 million will be allocated to the following three programs:
- $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19;
- $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations.
- $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID, as well as shore up the financial position of the CDFIs that are experiencing significant increased defaults in their existing loan portfolios.
I am very proud that this funding will benefit businesses in our community, such as the 52nd Street business district. This area is historically home to many small black-owned businesses who have weathered many issues over the year. These funds will continue helping these businesses that make up the backbone of our community.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the grant funds to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), who will then administer the funding to local qualifying small businesses.
The grant application will be available on the DCED website.
We Need to Pass Police Reform Legislation
Across our city and our country, we have seen historic uprisings of people calling for justice for the Black Americans killed by police. We must act now to reform the law enforcement intuitions and practices that have allowed these injustices to take place.
According to the group Mapping Police Violence, Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people. In 2019, there were only 27 days where police in the United States did not kill someone.
The Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus has released a package of bills for police reform and oversight across our state to end these tragic outcomes.
My proposed legislation includes strengthening and funding municipal civilian police oversight operations and enhancing civil asset forfeiture protections to protect the property of our citizens.
Additional proposals by my colleagues include:
- Municipal police officer education and training commission improvements;
- Requiring the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor whenever deadly force is used by a police officer;
- Requiring racial impact statements to eradicate implicit bias in policing polices;
- Improve standards for use of deadly force;
- Banning chokeholds or any actions that inhibits breathing of blood flow to the brain;
- Consequences for false reports of criminal activity based on race or ethnicity;
- Demilitarizing law enforcement;
- No consent to sexual activity while in police custody.
Read the complete list of reforms and the ways that they will be implemented at pasenate.com/reform.
We cannot wait for another George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or Ahmaud Arbery. Now is the time to enact these reforms.
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