(WHTM) – Tom Wolf is wrapping up his tenure as Pennsylvania’s governor after two terms and eight years marked by COVID shutdowns, election security questions and a budget surplus.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic was the question of whether Pennsylvania would be able to send $2,000 stimulus checks directly to Pennsylvania residents. It came amid the federal government’s popular stimulus check program that many said helped keep them in their homes and put food on their tables when the economy was shut down and workers were laid off.
Despite multiple efforts and public campaigning, Pennsylvania never got the state-funded $2,000 stimulus checks that Wolf pushed for as part of a $1.7 billion PA Opportunity Plan.
In a wide-ranging interview with abc27’s Dennis Owens, Wolf recounted the effort to send stimulus checks to residents amid a budget surplus and influx of federal money.
“The money would’ve come from federal funds, it was free money just send it out, and (Republicans) did not want to do that. But then after the budget passed and we had all this money I said here’s another opportunity instead of using federal money, let’s use state money. We had plenty it’s not like we had to raise anybody’s taxes.”
In Wolf’s plan, Pennsylvania households with an income of $80,000 or less would’ve received the $2,000 direct payments.
Wolf said with residents facing inflation at the grocery store and gas pump the “$2000 would be a really nice help. I don’t know why I couldn’t get that done.”
The PA Opportunity Plan included $225 million in support for small businesses, $204 million for direct property tax relief, $325 million for Pennsylvania’s healthcare system, and $450 million to invest in the conservation, preservation, and revitalization of Pennsylvania communities.
Any American Rescue Plan money that Pennsylvania received that remains unused by Dec. 31, 2024, will need to be returned to the federal government.
Wolf’s full interview will air during This Week in Pennsylvania on Sunday, Dec. 18.