HARRISBURG, May 11 – As federal emergency funds begin to reach states and local communities, two state representatives from opposite ends of the commonwealth are proposing legislation that would ensure a portion of those payments reach Philadelphians — not just big corporations — and also create a mechanism for future payments.
“We need to do so much to support our neighbors right now. Part of that is making sure federal relief dollars get straight to people — not just big corporations,” said state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., one of the legislation’s authors. “While this universal income is a modest start, it will help many people now and will hopefully provide a blueprint for distributing future federal funds directly to the people.”
Under the lawmakers’ proposed legislation, every adult (18 and older) would receive a $250 check from the state, funded by federal coronavirus funding. People whose current information is in the PennDOT driver’s license or state ID database, the voter registration system, or who have submitted 2019 PA taxes, would automatically receive a check. The program would provide a framework for future distribution of federal relief dollars to people. The funds would not impact a person’s eligibility for any other program or assistance.
“I know the struggles my neighbors and their families are facing, struggles that many faced even before our current crisis. While some look to score political points with theatrics on the House floor, our legislation would get help to those who need it most — the families of Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, the other co-author. “We live in a ‘commonwealth’ — and it is time to live up to that ideal in action, not words.”
“People have lost their jobs completely or had their hours reduced, many families were already only a paycheck or two away from not being able to pay their bills,” the lawmakers wrote in a note asking their colleagues to support the legislation. “Now is the time to make sure financial relief gets straight to Pennsylvanians, in the form of Pennsylvania Universal Income.”
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