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Friday, July 1, 2016

Capitol Update

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Capitol Update
Friday, July 01, 2016 The latest news from the State Capitol

Tax Fairness Measure Included in PA Budget Agreement

There’s more good news in the works for rural Pennsylvania as this year’s state budget agreement is set to include a much-needed increase in the state’s payment in lieu of taxes (PILT).

Pending approval by the House and Senate, the PILT on state-owned forest lands will increase from $3.60 per acre to $6 per acre. The PILT is divided equally among the municipalities, school districts and counties in which the land is located.

Our region has hundreds of thousands of acres of state-owned lands, all of which are tax exempt, and that has placed a significant strain on our local government and school district budgets. This measure will go a long way toward bringing some much-needed tax fairness to our rural communities.

The PILT increase would apply only to Department of Conservation and Natural Resources forest land. The PILT for lands owned by the Fish and Boat Commission and the Game Commission will remain at $3.60 per acre.
 

House Sends Budget Bill to Governor

On Thursday evening, I joined a bipartisan majority of my House colleagues in passing the 2016-17 state budget and sending it to the governor’s desk.

While I would have preferred a budget that spends less, the $31.6 billion plan is nearly $2 billion less than what the governor originally proposed, and it will not require any sales or income tax increases to pay for it.

The budget, which is awaiting the governor’s signature, includes:

• $250 million more in funding for schools, including a $200 million increase in Basic Education Funding, $20 million more for special education, $25 million more for Pre-K programs and $5 million more for Head Start.
• $15 million for the state’s fight against opioid abuse.
• Nearly $7 million for Critical Access Hospitals to support access to health care in rural areas.
• Nearly $2.6 million for the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

With the main budget bill on the governor’s desk, we are now working on several bills related to the budget, including those necessary to address revenue needs and distribution of funds for public schools. I look forward to wrapping up these elements of the budget in the next few days.
 

Veterans Assistance Available

Veterans service officers will be available in Bradford and Coudersport offices in July to assist veterans and their family members with issues such as compensation, education, pension, health care and death benefits.

The schedule is as follows:

• Thursday, July 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Dan Falls of the American Legion will be at the Coudersport office, 107 S. Main St. Appointments are required and should be made by calling 814-274-9769.
• Monday, July 11, 1-3 p.m. – Melissa Davis of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be at the Bradford office, 78 Main St. No appointments are necessary.

The scheduled visit in Kane is canceled this month due to the Fourth of July holiday. Assistance hours will resume there in August.

For information about future veterans outreach dates and locations, click here.
 

Mark Your Calendar – County Fairs Just Around the Corner

Summer is underway, and if you’re looking for something fun and affordable to do with friends and family, you’ll want to mark your calendar for one – or all! – of our area’s county fairs.

Here’s the schedule for fairs in the 67the Legislative District:

Potter County Fair, July 31-Aug. 6.
Cameron County Fair, Aug. 7-13.
McKean County Fair, Aug. 14-20.

For a full list of fairs across the state, click here.
 

PA’s Second Fish-for-Free Day Set for July 4

 
The second Fish for Free Day in Pennsylvania will be held this Monday, July 4. That means anyone, both residents and non-residents, may legally fish in Pennsylvania without a fishing license. (All other fishing regulations apply.)

More information is available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website, FishandBoat.com which includes interactive maps, regional fishing reports, and tips on fishing fundamentals. Celebrate our nation’s independence by enjoying some time in our great outdoors!
 

 

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