State Elected Officials Respond to Lebanon County CARES Act Funding Settlement Agreement

As elected officials, it is our sworn duty to represent the people no matter how difficult that job may be. On March 21, 2020, the Governor chose to shut down businesses across our state. Since then, our offices have been overwhelmed by residents pleading with us to assist them in reopening their businesses, and getting back to work safely and responsibly. The people of Lebanon do not want to become reliant upon government. They want the ability to work, and the ability to create a safe environment for their employees and customers. Government should not be making these decisions. Maintaining a small business is difficult enough in the best of times, but now those business owners are being subjected to constraints that change daily based on the whims of the Governor. 

The final straw came when Governor Wolf announced he was not going to remit the $12.8 million in Federal CARES Act funding that was legally owed to Lebanon County.  At that point the county commissioners had no choice but to turn the matter over to the courts.  We believe the Governor had no statutory authority whatsoever to put any restrictions on these funds.  The General Assembly wrote the legislation.  The Governor signed the legislation into law.  The legislation is crystal clear: The Governor SHALL distribute the funds. No other criteria needed to be met.  We believe these unilateral restrictions put in place by Governor Wolf are illegal, and his actions needed to be challenged in a court of law.  Despite being advised of these facts, our county commissioners negotiated a settlement with the Governor that requires $2.8 million of Lebanon County’s money to be spent on a campaign to further promote the Governor’s agenda, rather than being used to help our residents.  We wholeheartedly disagree with their decision to negotiate a settlement with the man who has stolen money owed to our county in order to fulfill a political vendetta.

We had been open for negotiation and discussion regarding COVID-19 business closures beginning in March.  The General Assembly had continuously reached out to the Governor’s Office to discuss possible options for businesses and people to safely return to work.  We were stonewalled by the Administration time after time, letter after letter, action after action. Governor Wolf’s reluctance and inability to recognize the General Assembly as a co-equal branch of government has bred contempt, and makes it seem that one man knows better than the 253 state officials elected to represent the People. 

We have, and always will, stand with the hard-working men and women of our districts.                                                                       

Senator, Dave Arnold
48th Senatorial District                                    

State Representative, Frank Ryan
101st Legislative District 

State Representative, Russ Diamond
102nd Legislative District

State Representative, Sue Helm
104 Legislative District

Contact:

Greg Moreland
gmoreland@pasen.gov