Ciresi votes for emergency property tax and small business relief, nursing home pandemic response

HARRISBURG, May 28 –State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced that he has voted in favor of several fiscal code bills, including House Bill 2510 and House Bill 1083, to provide emergency funding and property tax relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Working together in a bipartisan fashion, we were able to compromise on a fiscal code that I am comfortable passing and moving forward,” Ciresi said. “It isn’t perfect, but our budgets rarely are. Nursing homes and small businesses are struggling across the state right now, and this funding for pandemic response, medical supplies, and business relief will provide a critical lifeline. With additional property tax relief funding, continued state funding for education, and a new program for emergency rent and mortgage assistance, I am also proud that we are delivering on much-needed housing and property tax assistance, even though we have more work left to do.”

The fiscal code provided for a $300 million transfer from the federally-funded COVID-19 Response Restricted Account to the Property Tax Relief Fund, bringing the fund’s total for statewide property tax relief to $621 million.

The fiscal code bills passed out of the House on May 28 would provide several measures that Ciresi has been working on in the legislature and pushing to include in this budget process, including:

  • COVID-19 Relief County Block Grants to support pandemic response and small business relief. Ciresi has been pushing for small business grants with his own legislation, House Bill 2452, and calls for the county block grants to be used as a way to help small businesses and support county health response to COVID-19. Ciresi said he will continue to work on passing additional “ultra-small business” relief using remaining unallocated federal dollars.
  • Additional money totaling over $350 million to expand COVID-19 testing and support pandemic response and readiness in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, and personal care homes. These homes and facilities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, he said.
  • A Health Care System Assistance program through PEMA to ensure access to medical equipment and supplies for healthcare providers and other entities, such as nursing homes.
  • The COVID-19 Relief Rent and Mortgage Assistance Grant Program through PHFA, committing at least $150 million to emergency housing assistance. Individuals financially affected by the pandemic could qualify for grants to cover 100% of an individual’s monthly rent or mortgage for a maximum of six months, not to exceed $750/month for rent or $1000/month for mortgage.
  • Automatic forbearance of eligible student loans by PHEAA.
  • Additional emergency funding to assist food banks, early childhood education, community health centers, and social service providers.

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