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Friday, February 23, 2018

Capitol Update By Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, February 23, 2018 The latest news from the State Capitol
         
Ag Committee to Discuss Dairy Concerns

The House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which I chair, will hold an informational meeting next week to discuss issues facing the state’s dairy industry.

While dairy remains one of the leading sectors of the state’s agriculture economy, these mostly family-owned farms are facing challenges because of an oversupply in the market of fluid milk and persistently low prices. Regulatory issues and permit delays may also be negatively impacting the industry. A recent study highlighting the opportunities for additional dairy processing plants in the Commonwealth will also be discussed.

Those scheduled to address the committee include: Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding; Jayne Sebright, Center for Dairy Excellence; Sen. Elder Vogel, dairy farmer and chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee; Dr. Andrew Novakovic, professor of ag economics, Cornell University; and Jeff Ainslie, Red Barn Consulting.

The meeting will begin at noon on Monday, Feb. 26, in Room 60 East Wing at the state Capitol. Barring technical difficulties, it will be streamed live on my website at www.RepCauser.com. If you cannot watch it live, video and other materials from the meeting will be available on my website by Tuesday.
                  
         
Examing the Ag Budget

Also on Monday, I will take part in the House Appropriations Committee’s review of the Department of Agriculture’s budget request for 2018-19. This is the next step in the annual state budget process, following the governor’s $33 million proposal unveiled earlier this month before a joint session of the General Assembly.

I look forward to hearing from Secretary Redding about the department’s budget needs and hope to gain some insight into the governor’s proposed elimination of funding for several initiatives, including hardwoods development, which plays an important role in the advancement of our timber industry.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Monday and will also be streamed live on my website at www.RepCauser.com. For information about other budget hearings on tap next week and video of completed hearings, click here.     
                  
             
Thanks to Eldred Senior Center Director Charlotte Schweikart (second from left) for hosting one of our Property Tax/Rent Rebate clinics on Wednesday. These residents are among dozens we were able to help at five clinics across the area this week.
           
         
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Clinics Continue Next Week

Several events designed to help eligible senior citizens and people with disabilities file for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program are continuing next week in Kane, Emporium and Port Allegany. There is no fee to participate, and no appointments are required. The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 27 Wednesday, Feb. 28
  • Emporium Senior Center, 213 ½ S. Maple St., Emporium9:30-11 a.m.
  • Port Allegany Senior Center, 216 N. Main St., Port Allegany – 1-2:30 p.m.
The final event will be held on Tuesday, March 6, at the Bradford Senior Center, 60 Campus Dr., Bradford, from 9:30-11 a.m.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities. Eligibility income limits are set at $15,000 for renters and $35,000 for homeowners, excluding 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits.

Free assistance with filing the forms is always available at my offices in Bradford (78 Main St., first floor, phone 814-362-4400); Coudersport (107 S. Main St., Room 1, phone 814-274-9769); or Kane (55 Fraley St., phone 814-837-0880). Forms and additional information are available at www.RepCauser.com.
                  
         
Bridges Named to Honor Potter County Veterans

Two more Potter County bridges will be named in honor of area veterans who died in service to the country under a new state law.

Under Act 9 of 2018, the bridge located on Avenue A over the Allegheny River in Coudersport Borough is designated the Commander Philip F. “Jet” Palmatier Jr. Memorial Bridge. Palmatier was born in Coudersport in 1950, graduated from high school with honors and was appointed to the United States Naval Academy. On Dec. 10, 1990, Palmatier was flying a training mission over the Gulf of Mexico when his TA-4 Skyhawk collided with another jet, killing him.

The law also designates the bridge on Sunnyside Road over the Oswayo Creek in Shinglehouse Borough as the PVT Malon Stanley Memorial Bridge. Stanley, also a native of Potter County, was drafted into the United States Army at the start of World War II and served in the 1st Cavalry Division. He was among the forces that stormed Leyte Island under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and was killed in action in 1944 while providing cover for his fellow troops who were ordered to retreat. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for his service.

It has been an honor to work with area veterans organizations and county and local officials to help designate more than a dozen Potter County bridges to honor these local heroes.
                  
         
Veterans Assistance Available

Veterans service officers will be available in my Kane, Bradford and Coudersport offices in February to assist veterans and their family members with issues such as compensation, education, pension, health care and death benefits. The schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, March 5, 1-3 p.m. – Melissa Davis of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be at the Kane office, 55 Fraley St. No appointments are necessary.
  • Thursday, March 8, 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, March 12, 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.

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