BUCKS COUNTY – May 20, 2020 − Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) was joined by almost 80 democratic colleagues in the House and Senate yesterday, in asking Governor Wolf to support our small business community by allowing for curbside pick-up at all retail stores across the Commonwealth.
During a press conference, Sen. Santarsiero spoke of the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on small businesses and urged the Governor to allow all small retailers to open for curbside pick-up. Sen. Santarsiero also shared that a letter, signed by 16 Senate Democrats would be sent to the Governor with the same request. A similar letter signed by more than 60 House members from the northeast, southeast and Philadelphia regions was also sent yesterday.
“Curbside pick-up for retail will give a much-needed boost to small businesses across the Commonwealth, without sacrificing the efforts that have been made to flatten the curve,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “As Bucks County and others remain in the red phase, our neighbors across the river in New Jersey are allowing curbside pick-up for all retail. Allowing curbside pick-up for all retail in Pennsylvania will help support our local small businesses and keep money here in the state.”
The letter notes the significant economic impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on small retailers and the continued uncertainty and challenges that re-opening will bring. During the press conference, Sen. Santarsiero also emphasized that businesses in Pennsylvania have already implemented curbside pick-up for restaurants, liquor stores and other essential services.
“Over the last 10 weeks we have seen restaurants, liquor stores and essential services successfully operate curbside pick-up options for customers,” continued Sen. Santarsiero. “This existing framework can easily be expanded to all retail across the Commonwealth, giving counties still in the red phase access to goods from local small businesses.”
The full text of the letter to Governor Wolf can be found here.
Harrisburg, PA − March 18, 2020 − Leaders from each of the four caucuses of the General Assembly and the Governor agreed to move $40 million under the Commonwealth Financing Authority to a small business loan program to aid businesses impacted by the COVID 19 outbreak. These funds will be combined with $21 million in other available funds for a total of $61 million.
Small businesses are among the most affected by the closure of non-essential businesses, and in the financial recovery which will follow this outbreak, they will need as much support as the state and federal government is able to provide.
“In the wake of the unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that state government is trying to respond to all manner of its impacts, and that includes providing support to our small business community,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. “Today, the CFA took necessary and swift action to provide low interest loans to small businesses to help keep them afloat during these difficult times. I commend the leadership of Governor Wolf and the other caucuses of the General Assembly for working together so quickly to come up with a viable plan to provide this assistance.”
“There’s been major disruption to small businesses and their employees,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “This is a bipartisan down payment to get some working capital out quickly. Much more help is needed and we’ll keep working on that.”
These funds will be used to fund working capital loans of up to $100,000 directly to small businesses (those that employ 100 or fewer persons). The PIDA board has the authority to move money from MELF to SBF for such purposes. The interest rate is currently 3 percent; however, The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) board has the authority to adjust the interest rates.
The SBF is the most logical program to assist small businesses quickly because this is already its intended purpose. It has the structure along with the needed regional infrastructure to help small businesses immediately including partnerships with local a Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO) in preparing and submitting an application for approval by the Authority. As these loans have a maximum amount of $100,000, they can all be approved by the staff and thus, if all requirements are met, and a complete application is submitted, each loan can be turned around rather quickly.
BUCKS COUNTY − March 14, 2020 − The following statement is attributable to Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) in response to Governor Wolf’s announcement to add Bucks and Chester counties to Montgomery and Delaware counties where he has ordered voluntary mitigation efforts:
“It is clear from state and federal health officials that the most powerful tools to combat the spread of the Coronavirus is for each and every one of us to restrict all nonessential social contact and maintain frequent personal hygiene routines.
“While I firmly believe all nonessential businesses should be ordered to close or work remotely, right now the Governor has requested those businesses to voluntarily close or work remotely which makes it unfair for the businesses that do abide by that request when others do not.
“For that reason, I strongly urge all nonessential businesses and individuals to do their part to stop the spread of the disease so we can protect our most vulnerable family, friends and neighbors.
“As of yesterday, I have closed my district offices in Newtown and Doylestown and my staff is serving constituents by phone, email and social media.
“These efforts are inconvenient and may seem extreme, but I am convinced they are necessary to avoid a dramatic increase in cases that could overwhelm our healthcare system, putting the most vulnerable at great risk.
“We are still on pace for an exponential rise in cases; the only way to change that is to act now to limit as much social contact as possible.”