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Lawmakers Make Another Attempt to Fund Schools, Critical Services
The budget impasse in Harrisburg has created serious concerns in communities throughout the region and across our Commonwealth. Many schools are scrambling to devise a strategy to deal with the loss of more than $3 billion in education funding due to Governor Wolf’s vetoes, and numerous other programs have been placed at risk. This situation is entirely unacceptable.
I joined lawmakers this week in supporting legislation that would reverse some of the most painful cuts made by Governor Wolf. We cannot allow partisanship and stubbornness to stand in the way of the programs and services that state residents rely on most.
While differences of opinion remain on matters of policy, lawmakers and the Governor should be united on the principle that government should not be used as a tool to disrupt the lives of Pennsylvanians for political gain. This mess has gone on far too long, and I am hopeful that this legislation will finally allow our state to move on from the protracted mess the current budget delay has created.
My statement regarding the latest attempt to pass a budget is
Reminder: Upcoming Telephone Town Hall and “Coffee With Camera” Events
Since I was first elected to office, I have been blessed with the opportunity to hear from many of you through my district offices, social media and at countless events throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Over the next several weeks, I plan to host a number of events so I can meet more community residents and hear your perspectives on issues of local importance.
One of the best tools I use to keep in touch with communities are telephone town halls that allow district residents to ask questions, voice their concerns and express their views. Thousands of callers have tuned in for my previous tele-town halls, and the discussions created through these events has been extremely thoughtful and engaging.
My next telephone town hall will take place on March 22 at 6 p.m. You can learn more about the event and register to participate here.
In addition, I plan to host a number of “Coffee With Camera” events in communities throughout the region over the next several weeks. These events allow local residents to stop by and enjoy free refreshments and discuss what is happening in our local communities. I hope you can join me for at least one of these upcoming events:
Thursday, March 17th in Greene County
Thursday, April 7th in Beaver County
Friday, April 8th in Washington County
Friday, April 15th in Greene County
Friday, April 15th in Greene County
Thursday, April 21st in Washington County
Committees Study Impact of Governor’s Agriculture Cuts
Governor Wolf’s decision to eliminate funding for agriculture programs has created a great deal of concern for farm families locally and across the state. The Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees held a joint hearing this week to explore how these cuts would impact the agriculture community.
Video of the hearing is available here.
I recently wrote an op-ed that outlined some of the potential pitfalls of Governor Wolf’s decision to veto funding for critical programs within the Department of Agriculture, and I am cosponsoring legislation that would restore these cuts.
Senate Appropriations Completes Budget Hearings
The Senate Appropriations Committee recently completed three weeks of budget hearings regarding Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 budget plan. The hearings focused on a number of critical concerns, including the impact of the governor’s proposed tax increases, the consequences of the prolonged budget impasse and how to better manage taxpayer dollars.
Video and summaries of the hearings are available here.
Program Helps Military Families Experiencing a Financial Crisis
The tremendous service and sacrifice of our men and women serving in the military is a point of pride for our entire Commonwealth. However, military service often creates significant challenges for service members and their families. It is critical to ensure military personnel and their families are supported in times of crisis.
The Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP) provides grants of up to $3,500 to eligible Pennsylvania service members and their family members who have a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control. The program is funded through donations by taxpayers and individuals.
Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax filers can donate all or part of their refund to support Pennsylvania military personnel and their families in need by checking off the tax refund designation box on their state income tax return. In addition, donations to MFRAP can also be made online at www.donate.dmva.pa.gov or by mail to DMVA Office of Veterans Affairs, Bldg. 0-47, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003-5002.
More information on the program is available here.
For more information on issues of importance to southwestern Pennsylvania, please visit my website at www.senatorbartolotta.com and connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorbartolotta) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/senbartolotta).
SouthPointe District Office
Greene County Office Building