Ben Franklin Remains Committed to Helping Clients Navigate the
Impacts of COVID-19
DCED and Governor Wolf Urge
Manufacturing Sector to Report Critical COVID-19-Related Supply Capabilities, Needs
Poll Finds PA Residents Overwhelmingly Support Investments
Earlier this year, the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) commissioned a national poll, using a bipartisan team of pollsters, to determine American attitudes toward investments in innovation. The results of the poll, which included registered voters in Pennsylvania, were released in May and found that among those surveyed in Pennsylvania:
Ninety-five percent support (and 47 percent voice strong support for) an initiative that promotes investments in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship to advance new businesses and create jobs.
The enthusiasm for such investments cut across all parties --- Democrats (96 percent), Independents (92 percent), and Republicans (95 percent) alike.
Heading into the depths of the coronavirus pandemic response, the majority (59 percent) of survey respondents believed the economy was getting worse, although most Pennsylvania voters view the investment plan as a means for improving the economy in the future.
Ninety-three percent believe the innovation investment initiative can change the economy for the better.
The findings are key as innovation has proven to be vital to the state’s response to this pandemic and it will remain central to economic recovery.
2020-21 General Fund Budget Update
In May, the General Assembly passed and Gov. Tom Wolf signed a short-term spending plan designed to keep essential services and programs running as the commonwealth begins to re-open in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A critical component of the spending plan is a continued investment in innovation, committing to funding Ben Franklin Technology Partners through November 2020, when lawmakers will have to return to Harrisburg to hammer out a spending plan for the remaining seven months of the 2020-21 fiscal year.
In addition to crafting a short-term spending plan that greatly benefits the commonwealth and its residents, the decision by state leaders to include funding for Ben Franklin in the modified budget displays a vision and understanding of, as well as a level of confidence in, the critical role small businesses and startups play in Pennsylvania.
Recognizing that many of the same small businesses responding to COVID-19 crisis are vulnerable because they are exempt from accessing support through most existing grant and loan programs that are narrowly focused on larger, established businesses, the state separately designated $4 million to support Ben Franklin clients that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each of Ben Franklin’s regionally based centers will further match the $1 million it receives in state funding with another $1 million, thus ensuring that Pennsylvania’s forward-thinking, innovation-based businesses will have continued access to the essential services and expertise they need to prosper and keep residents employed.
As part of their ongoing commitment to guiding Pennsylvania forward on the path to economic recovery, the governor and lawmakers will reconvene before the end of the year to finish work on a full spending plan. We will keep you posted on their progress.
Ben Franklin looks forward to our ongoing work together to ensure the commonwealth’s economy emerges from this experience stronger than ever.