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Friday, July 17, 2020

Saylor Calls for Governor to Release COVID-19 Relief Funds to Lebanon County

HARRISBURG –House Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York) released the following statement calling on Gov. Tom Wolf to release federal CARES Act funds that were appropriated to Lebanon County:

“The governor has no legal authority to arbitrarily withhold funding from Lebanon County, which the General Assembly approved unanimously in both the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Saylor said. “The residents of Lebanon County, like the residents in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, have suffered a great deal due to the COVID-19 outbreak and Gov. Wolf’s arbitrary and capricious business shutdown orders.”

“The Legislature carefully considered the needs of small business owners, nonprofits, local governments, and those suffering from increased mental health and drug addiction issues when creating the county block grant program. All citizens of this Commonwealth deserve to be treated equally and should not be subject to petty and punitive outbursts by their governor.”

“What’s worse, is the governor admitted to reporters on Thursday that he was withholding federal funds from Lebanon County in order to influence the outcome of an election. He specifically said, as a result of his actions, voters in Lebanon County should vote against their Republican commissioners in the next election. This is unconscionable and should be widely condemned.”

“I am calling on Gov. Wolf to reverse this shameful act and release the $12.8 million that is legally owed to the citizens of Lebanon County. This funding was appropriated by the Legislature in two pieces of legislation that the governor signed into law. He cannot simply ignore laws after he signs them.”

The Legislature allocated $625 million of federal CARES Act dollars through Act 2A of 2020 (Senate Bill 1108) for county block grants to assist counties with COVID-19-related expenditures. Act 24 of 2020 (House Bill 2510) sets forth a population-based distribution for county block grants in the 60 counties with less than 500,000 residents that did not received funding directly from the federal government under the CARES Act. Eligible uses of funds under Act 24 include offsetting cost of direct county emergency response; small business assistance; programs to support local economic development entities; assistance to cities, borough, towns or townships for costs related to the emergency, including planning; behavioral health and drug and alcohol abuse treatment services, nonprofit assistance programs; and broadband internet deployment.

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