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In this Update:
Senate Republicans Work to Strengthen Pennsylvania
As the 2023-24 legislative session is in full swing, my colleagues and I are working to protect Pennsylvania jobs, empower Pennsylvania families and defend Pennsylvania freedoms. These initiatives are reflected in our agenda, and many relevant bills have already passed.
Protecting jobs requires a multifaceted approach that includes energy independence, workforce development and infrastructure advancement.
Families, not government, are the heart of our commonwealth. To empower families, we must provide healthy and safe communities, address mental and behavioral health needs and guarantee access to high-quality schools.
Defending freedom means keeping government out of citizens’ lives and pockets as much as possible and allowing them to be confident in the election process. To do that, we want to reduce the tax burden, cut government red tape and improve election integrity.
State Assistance Announced for Seven Projects Across Lehigh County
Seven grants were announced this week to help fund local projects in Lehigh County.
The funds were approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority through its Local Share Account program, which distributes gaming revenues.
I am pleased to announce these state grants to help fund key community projects across Lehigh County. It’s important to use a portion of gaming revenues in a way that benefits citizens.
Allentown City, on behalf of Lehigh Valley P4P Boxing Inc., will receive $37,783 to purchase a 2022 Ford Transit Connect to aid in transporting boxers to and from competitions. Lehigh Valley P4P Boxing Inc. is a nonprofit organization aimed at transforming local youth through its boxing programs. Currently, coaches must use their own vehicles to transport boxers.
The Borough of Emmaus, on behalf of Seven Generations Charter School, will receive $83,131 for the construction of an amphitheater. The amphitheater will provide a safe, outdoor, collaborative space for more than 570 students and families daily as well as provide a location for the greater community to gather.
Lower Macungie Township, on behalf of Macungie Ambulance Corps, will receive $14,964 to purchase new ambulance training equipment. The grant will purchase a patient simulator, lung sound simulator and a bag valve mask ventilation feedback device.
Slatington Borough will receive $56,051 for a stormwater infrastructure and roadway restoration project in the Shadow Oaks Lane area. The project will provide a much-needed way to capture stormwater in catch basins on a heavily used street that provides a school bus route to the Northern Lehigh School District campus. The stormwater will be captured on Shadow Oaks Lane then transferred through pipes to the existing system on Oakhurst Drive.
South Whitehall Township will receive $170,566 to purchase three police vehicles and equipment for school resource officers at Parkland High School, Orefield Middle School and Springhouse Middle School.
Weisenberg Township will receive $11,093 to purchase a portable radar speed display to help slow traffic for safer neighborhoods, work zones and construction areas.
Whitehall Township will receive $97,619 to renovate the 1835 historic farmhouse located on the Historic Mickley Prydun Farm to make it usable.
Hearing Explores Workforce Challenges in Rural Pennsylvania
The Senate Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing in Williamsport to explore workforce challenges in rural Pennsylvania.
The hearing focused on population decline and labor and housing shortages, and their economic impact on communities and businesses. The Center for Rural Pennsylvania submitted data that showed the stagnation of Pennsylvania’s rural population, primarily due to more deaths than births, and a steady rural labor force decline, which predates the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional testifiers included Acting Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Nancy Walker, area business leaders and others. You can view the hearing and written testimony here.
Open Road Tolling Coming to PA
Open road tolling is coming to eastern Pennsylvania in 2025 and western Pennsylvania in 2026. It will save the PA Turnpike more than $75 million a year.
Open road tolling is a cashless, free-flowing mode of collecting tolls without traditional toll plazas or tollbooths. Tolls are charged electronically as customers drive at highway speeds without slowing down or stopping beneath overhead structures between interchanges. It allows new access points to be added more easily and at a lower cost, enhancing mobility and reducing traffic.
Find maps and learn more here.
Monthly Appropriations Update Hints at Moderation of State Revenues
Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares an update about the state’s financial health. The most recent report shows that tax revenues in April were $15.3 million below estimate, indicating a potential moderation of state revenues. Personal Income Tax collections were also below estimate: $322 million, which is 10% lower than projected.
For the 2022-23 Fiscal Year, revenue collections remain $1.2 billion higher than estimates, driven largely by corporation taxes that are nearly 19% above projections.
The full update, including the monthly revenue report, is available here.
Win $5,290 to Celebrate 529 Day
May 29 is 529 Day, and the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is celebrating with the opportunity to win financial awards for new PA 529 College and Career Savings Program Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) account owners.
The PA 529 GSP allows you to save at today’s tuition rates to meet tomorrow’s tuition costs. PA 529 plans have state and federal tax advantages and can be used for a wide variety of qualifying technical, collegiate and apprenticeship educational expenses.
One new PA 529 GSP account owner will be awarded a $5,290 GSP contribution – enough to cover a year of tuition at a Pennsylvania Community College. There will also be 10 additional regional winners across the state who will each receive a GSP contribution of $2,529.
To be eligible for awards, open a new PA 529 GSP account with at least $10 before May 31. Beneficiaries must be Pennsylvania residents and may not already be the beneficiary of an active PA 529 GSP or PA 529 Investment Plan account. Additional conditions apply; read the official rules here.
National Safe Boating Week: May 20-26
National Safe Boating Week reminds all boaters to brush up on boating safety skills and prepare for the boating season.
In recognition of Safe Boating Week, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is offering free events to introduce people to boating, paddling and kayaking. Learn more here.
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