Senator Coleman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Local Scouts Participate in Townhall Meeting
  • Nockamixon Mobile Office Event Helped Local Residents
  • Senate Begins Review of Proposed State Budget
  • Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info
  • Help is Available for Struggling Veterans
  • Mental Health Treatment is Available for Farmers
  • Recognizing National FFA Week

Local Scouts Participate in Townhall Meeting

Local Boy Scouts from Troop 29 in Cetronia, Troop 72 in Fogelsville and Troop 12 in Allentown West joined me for a recent townhall meeting. The scouts earned their citizenship of the community merit badge and communications merit badge. As a former Boy Scout, I spoke about how the values and skills I learned through my participation in the program have served me throughout my life. I enjoyed answering questions from the scouts and discussing issues related to our state government.

Nockamixon Mobile Office Event Helped Local Residents

Local residents recently visited our mobile office event on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Nockamixon, where my staff helped them apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program and assisted with other state government-related issues and concerns.

The event took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Nockamixon Township Building, 589 Lake Warren Road, Upper Black Eddy.

This was the first in a series of four mobile office events we have planned throughout the district.

These mobile office events will make it easier for people to get help with state government programs and services. People can’t always make it to one of our offices, so we’re trying to bring the office to them.

Staff will help visitors with state government-related issues, programs and services. They can help residents apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which offers rebates of up to $1,000 to state residents age 65 or older, widows and widowers age 50 or older, or anyone age 18 and older who is 100% disabled.

Staff also can help visitors with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) cards, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) issues, Pennsylvania Office of the State Treasurer Unclaimed Property program searches and claim requests, state agency issues not related to PennDOT, and other state government concerns.

In addition to the Nockamixon event, additional mobile office services will be offered on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, March 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Whitehall Municipal Building, 3256 Levans Road, Coplay.
  • Thursday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Macungie Institute, 510 E. Main St., Macungie.
  • Tuesday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hilltown Township Administration Building, 13 W. Creamery Road, Hilltown.

Residents who plan to visit one of the mobile office events are asked to sign up by completing a short form on my website so our staff can adequately prepare to provide help.

Our office will be in several neighborhoods in the 16th Senatorial District. My goal with these mobile office events is to make state government more accessible to the people it’s intended to serve.

Senate Begins Review of Proposed State Budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee began public hearings this week on the proposed 2024-25 state budget.

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget plan would increase state spending by more than $3.2 billion, or about 7.1% above the current year’s budget. Projections indicate it will be all but impossible to balance budgets in the next five years without deep spending cuts and massive tax increases.

Among the highlights:

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) hearing focused on the commonwealth’s ongoing structural deficit and future financial standing. The IFO’s projected revenues for 2024-25 are $825 million lower than those from the Shapiro administration. Additionally, the IFO director projected the current fund balance and Rainy Day Fund – the state’s emergency savings account – would both run out in 2026-27 under the governor’s budget.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) budget hearing included questions about how the new governance model for PASSHE and community colleges would be structured and when the transition would happen. Unfortunately, very little information was available. PASSHE’s chancellor was not included in the work group planning the merger, which caused concerns.

At the Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Parole Board budget hearing, the committee sought an explanation for Shapiro’s new funding for the department totaling $229 million, which is $74 million more than the department requested. This followed the department overspending its 2023-24 budget by $100 million. The need to curb excessive spending on overtime was also discussed. 

At the Department of Community and Economic Development budget hearing, the committee asked about the negative impacts of Pennsylvania’s burdensome permit process and tax penalties on startup businesses that don’t turn an immediate profit. Members also discussed the governor’s Main Street Matters program, which he wants to fund at more than four times the amount of a similar program that already exists.

Thursday’s hearings include the Department of Labor and Industry and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at

Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding free webinars to assist college-bound students and their families with navigating the financial aid process.

Speakers will discuss planning for higher education financing, comparing financial aid offers and understanding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Register to attend the one-hour webinars, which run through July.

Help is Available for Struggling Veterans

Like anyone, veterans and their families can face unexpected circumstances that impose financial burdens. To help veterans who are facing challenging times, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs administers the Veterans Temporary Assistance (VTA) Program.

The VTA provides temporary financial assistance of up to $1,600 in a 12-month period to veterans or their surviving spouses who reside in Pennsylvania for food, shelter, fuel and clothing.

Learn more about how to qualify and apply.

Mental Health Treatment is Available for Farmers

Pennsylvania farmers and farm families live a stressful way of life, often filled with uncertainty. Rural areas have fewer therapists, and the work on a farm never stops.

While the circumstances farmers experience are unique, there is help available for those dealing with loneliness, sadness, stress or depression.

Professional treatment for mental health is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the free AgriStress HelpLine. Call or text a health care professional at 833-897-2474.

Recognizing National FFA Week

As agriculture is one of Pennsylvania’s top industries, it is important to recognize National FFA Week, which runs from Feb. 17-24.

Farmers work hard so we can enjoy fresh, local fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses and milk. They help to reduce our dependence on other countries for our food supply so we don’t need to worry about being able to put food on the table.

A group of young farmers founded FFA in 1928, and the organization continues to play an important role in attracting future generations. After all, agriculture is more than planting and harvesting – it involves science, business and more.


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