Pennsylvania Governor Pushes for $2,000 Payments

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is pushing for $2,000 relief checks to help residents with prices at the supermarkets and gas pumps.

On Monday, Wolf appeared in Allegheny County to call on the state’s Republican-led Assembly to approve its PA Opportunity Program, which would provide $2,000 in payments to households earning less than $80,000 a year. If passed, the program would receive an estimated 250,000 applicants, costing approximately $500 million.

“We have these funds available. It’s not fair to withhold them from taxpayers,” the governor tweeted. Wolf noted that the state budget has $15 billion in resources available.

The program was introduced in February as part of Wolf’s budget proposal, but was scrapped again during negotiations. He is now calling on state lawmakers to take action to provide inflation relief.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf addresses supporters at a campaign rally on September 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wolf’s PA Opportunity Program would provide $2,000 in payments to households earning less than $80,000 per year.
Mark Makela/Stringer

“This money will make a life-changing difference to families in Commonwealth communities and provide a much-needed buffer against prices that are artificially and temporarily higher due to inflation,” Wolf said in a statement Monday. “Let’s put this money back in the pockets of Pennsylvania residents to cover the increased cost of gas, groceries and everything else.

Pennsylvania Republicans have rejected Wolf’s proposal, claiming the aid payments would exacerbate inflation and increase consumer costs. Wolf has disputed those claims, saying his program is narrow enough, and the payments small enough, that it would make up less than a tenth of a percent of the state’s GDP.

While US inflation has begun to fall since its peak of 9.1 percent in June — the highest rate in 40 years — rising costs remain a key issue as Americans head to the polls in November.

A poll published this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly 75 percent of voters say inflation and high gas prices are their top voting problems.

While Wolf’s plan in Pennsylvania remains in limbo, other states have already started rolling out aid checks for residents. In California, some are seeing tax refunds of up to $1,050, while an estimated 6.2 million taxpayers in Illinois will receive payments by Sept. 12.

Next month, Alaska residents will receive direct payments in the amount of $3,200 — a move approved as part of the state’s annual budget.

“This budget is more than a spending plan, it’s a blueprint for Alaska’s future,” Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy said. “Budgets should reflect the values ​​and aspirations of the people they were designed for, and I believe this legislation achieves that.”

While the payment is the second largest in Alaska history, it is still a cut of the $5,500 payments initially approved by the state Senate. The state house wouldn’t sign on it.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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