Ciresi pushes state COVID-19 relief bill package

HARRISBURG, APRIL 9 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced a set of bills to provide relief to those negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“While I applaud the actions already taken by the state and federal governments, we need to do more to help our constituents – our small business owners, workers who can’t get to their jobs, and homeowners wondering how they’ll pay their property taxes,” Ciresi said. “This is why I have proposed several bills to provide important relief, and signed on as a co-sponsor to many great ideas that my colleagues have unveiled. I am calling on the House to take up these important bills and do more to support those in need right now.”

Since the passage of a bipartisan COVID-19 bill package, which included a state income tax filing deadline extension pushed by Ciresi, by the legislature two weeks ago, Ciresi has proposed several new bills to provide relief and would do the following:

•     Create a $50 million grant program for small businesses to give them crucial relief and make sure that they can reopen after this crisis ends.

•     Extend the deadline to pay property taxes. Federal, state and local income tax deadlines have already been extended to July 15.

•     Revive the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Working Capital Access loan program through a transfer of $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund and expand eligibility to struggling non-profits and the life science industry. Due to high demand, this zero-interest loan program for small businesses ran out of money in just a week, on April 1.

•     Extend the deadline for school districts to pass their annual budgets, which are due at the end of June. With school districts currently unable to hold in-person meetings, this flexibility would allow them the time they need to pass an open and inclusive budget with public input and participation.

“Small businesses are the bedrock of our communities. We need to keep them afloat,” Ciresi continued. “This includes additional grant and loan support since we’ve seen unprecedented and overwhelming demand for the programs we already have. And with so many people’s income streams interrupted, we need to give more time to let people get back on their feet by extending property taxes and annual budget deadlines for schools.”

In addition these bills, Ciresi also voiced support as a co-sponsor for proposed legislation to waive student and housing loan interest, strengthen health and safety protections for essential employees and first responders, and support students without the technology or equipment to properly engage in distance learning.

For more information, contact Ciresi’s office at (484) 200-8265.