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US Aid To States Draws Warning To Use It For One-Time Costs

Matt Rourke

Pennsylvania state government is expected to receive more than $7 billion from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package making its way through Congress, or almost one-fifth of its operating costs this year, with some warning that the one-time sum of money should only be used for one-time costs.

Many across the state government were still trying to determine Tuesday exactly what sort of restrictions are on the money and suggested that they may not know for certain for days after the bill is signed into law.

The estimated $7.3 billion coming to Pennsylvania state government dwarfs the roughly $2.5 billion deficit projected next year for state government next year by the Independent Fiscal Office, a legislative agency, with the rising demand for long-term nursing care for a growing number of elderly residents a key cost driver.

Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Fulton, the vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he and his colleagues are waiting to see precise restrictions that comes with the money.

However, there is already a feeling across many members of the committee that the estimated $7.3 billion cannot be used to pay for recurring costs in a way that will create a cliff in the future, he said.