State Senate Democrats Announce Main Street Business Revitalization Plan
$550 million in additional funds could be earmarked for small businesses via CARES
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats announced the start of a revitalization program for small businesses in Pennsylvania. Sens. Jay Costa, Vince Hughes, John Blake, Jim Brewster, and Pam Iovino called for $550 million in funds allocated to the state through the federal CARES act to be used for what they call "mom-and-pop shops."
The program, dubbed the Main Street Business Revitalization Program, will issue grants to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Senators are calling for $425 million to be dedicated to traditional main street businesses and $125 million to be dedicated to historically disadvantaged businesses.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Pennsylvania received $4 billion from the federal government to be spent or allocated by December 31. State Senate Democrats proposed a plan for these funds called PA CARES.
Through PA CARES, the Main Street Business Revitalization Initiative will, according to Hughes, give small businesses that have felt the effects of the pandemic the financial assistance they need. In a statement, he said that the money has been sitting in Pennsylvania's account for six weeks and is intended to help small businesses.
This plan hopes to ensure that these businesses receive the funds immediately through grants, not loans. It will be run by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), who provide flexible loans, debt relief and technical assistance to ensure Pennsylvania businesses recover and remain stable.
Businesses eligible for financial assistance include barbers, salons, restaurants, bars and taverns, retailers, coffee shops, neighborhood hardware stores, garden shops, realtors, childcare facilities, and any other small businesses that suffered economically during the pandemic.
"Small businesses represent nearly half of the private sector workforce in Pennsylvania – 2.5 million jobs," Iovino said in a statement. "They are the job creators in our communities, yet they were glaringly overlooked by federal business relief programs. We do not want to see any of these businesses fail, and the $550 million Main Street Business Revitalization Initiative is exactly the kind of lifeline that these economic drivers need."
Visit pasenate.com/pacares to learn more about the state's COVID-19 relief plan for businesses.