In the middle of alarming inflation and record-high gas prices, many folks are looking to lawmakers for help. But while some are trying hard to put more money in their constituents’ pockets, others are opposed to more direct stimulus check payments.
This battle is easily seen in Pennsylvania, where Governor Tom Wolf has been pushing for direct stimulus checks to be sent to Pennsylvania residents. His plan, which would make use of uncommitted federal funds from Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), would send up to $2,000 to Pennsylvania citizens with household incomes of $80,000 or less.
If approved, the stimulus check could help millions of families struggling to deal with the skyrocketing cost of living. But there’s strong opposition to the move from Pennsylvania’s Republican lawmakers.
Pennsylvania currently has more than $2 billion in uncommitted ARPA funds. States have until the end of 2024 to put those dollars to good use — or they have to return them to the federal government. Wolf is staunchly opposed to the lost opportunity, an opinion he reiterated again this week in an address in West View, Pennsylvania.
The stimulus payments would use $500 million in ARPA funds as a part of Governor Wolf’s PA Opportunity Program. This is part of Wolf’s larger $1.7 billion plan to use the remaining ARPA funds. In addition to stimulus check payments, the plan includes $225 million for Small Business Support, $325 million for healthcare investment, and $204 million in property tax relief.
Stimulus Check: The Plan Has Democratic Support
Many state Democrats have also spoken out in favor of stimulus checks. Rep. Emily Kinkead, who was with Wolf in West View, echoed his plea that legislators use the money to help Pennsylvania residents.
While Wolf’s plan may seem worthwhile, many state Republicans disagree. Several members of the General Assembly have said they feel there are better ways to spend the ARPA funds than giving it to residents. State Senator Devlin Robinson, who is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been a vocal objector to the idea of direct stimulus checks.