MERCER, Pa. (WYTV) – Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania House say they need to come up with ways to help businesses left struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Such a large-scale problem requires special attention and a holistic examination. That is what we’ve been working on,” said Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, (R) Pennsylvania House Minority Leader.
The move to create a legislative task force follows Governor Tom Wolf’s call last month for lawmakers to provide stimulus money.
“I urge the General Assembly to take action as soon as possible to get this money into the hands of business owners and workers who need it so desperately,” Wolf said.
On Tuesday, Benninghoff said his priority is getting people back to work and school through economic incentives, not necessarily more spending.
“At the end of the day, a stronger economy doesn’t happen by government cutting more checks because government gets their money from the taxpayers to begin with,” Benninghoff said.
Representative Mark Longietti, D-7th District, said lawmakers can do both.
“We can also get to a better spot where people can return to work and need to do that, but we certainly don’t want to cut off the lifeline that the federal government recognized is necessary,” Longietti said.
Longietti claims that federal funding to help states deal with the pandemic does include money for small businesses, like restaurants, that have been especially hard hit. He said the money needs to be spent.
“We are going to watch business after business start to close in our area, and we don’t want that to happen then people will be permanently out of work,” Longietti said.
That’s not the outcome Longietti says Pennsylvania needs.