Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy DeFoor today released a performance audit criticizing the Wolf administration’s waiver process for businesses that asked to remain open early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The audit, which makes five key recommendations, revealed that the administration’s guidance for determining whether a business was life-sustaining, first issued on March 19, 2020, subsequently changed nine more times between March 21 and May 28, 2020. A “frequently-asked questions” document intended to guide businesses was revised 14 times.
‘Unfortunately, The Auditor General’s report further validates what small business owners had known to be true for the last 18 months,” said NFIB PA State Director Greg Moreland. “At the outset of the pandemic, there was no plan. The executive branch, through a flawed waiver process, unilaterally dictated which businesses could remain open. This process was ripe with confusion, lacked consistency, and provided absolutely no transparency or expectations for business owners. Small businesses suffered during this process while their competitors were allowed to stay open. The General Assembly must take immediate action on the recommendations of the Auditor General’s report to ensure our small businesses never experience this again.”
According to a press release issued by Auditor General DeFoor, “When the future of your business may be hanging by a thread, waiting even just a few days for an answer can feel like an eternity. The delays were stressful – not only for business owners but for their employees and families as well.”
NFIB PA looks forward to working with the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office to codify Auditor General DeFoor’s recommendations.