Matzie supports budget-related bills
HARRISBURG, May 29 – Pennsylvania nursing and personal care homes at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic would receive more than $630 million in federal CARES Act funding under legislation the House passed unanimously yesterday, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced.
Matzie, who has led the charge to investigate and address the spiraling infection and death rates in nursing and long-term care facilities statewide, said he is relieved that a large chunk of $2.6 billion in federal CARES Act funding is going where it is needed most – to address the crisis facing seniors in care facilities.
“It is beyond frustrating to read the statistics on mounting deaths and see our seniors being held hostage by this virus without being able to go in and do something to address it,” said Matzie, whose legislation recently prompted the state to begin universal testing in facilities. “Now, thanks to this infusion of funding, we will have the test kits, personal protective equipment, additional staffing and other critical resources to start bringing the situation under control.”
Beyond the assistance to nursing homes, Matzie said the CARES Act funding will provide $50 million to volunteer fire and EMS companies, which lost key sources of revenue when the pandemic forced a halt to fundraising efforts.
“We ask our first responders to combat any form of disaster, and to do so with tight budgets and limited resources,” Matzie said. “Now, a new and unforeseeable danger has been demanding even more of these heroes, while at the same time cutting off a reliable form of revenue. This funding will ensure that they have the equipment and other resources they need to stay safe while protecting the rest of us.”
Matzie said he expects the governor to sign the legislation – which among other funding also allocates about $870 million for small business and local government relief, $347 million for education and early childhood resources, and $260 million to help people with intellectual disabilities – in the near future.
“For our seniors and most vulnerable to those who are committed to protecting them, the funding can’t come soon enough. It’s good to know we’re on the path to progress,” he said.
Matzie added that the bills passed would also restore a $300 million property tax shortfall created by the budget.