January 26, 2016
Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!
This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Devil in the Details on Property Tax Measure
On November 24th, 2015, I provided an update in my E-Newsletter on Senate Bill 76, a measure commonly known as the Property Tax Independence Act. The language contained in SB 76 would have sought to eliminate school property taxes by increasing the state’s sales tax from 6 to 7 percent, and the personal income tax from 3.07 to 4.95 percent.
It is unfortunate that a lot of misinformation is still being promoted regarding the bill, which is detrimental to the citizens of the 23rd District.
Of course the prospect of “eliminating property taxes” sounds great, but it is worth reiterating that under SB 76, personal income taxes would increase 61%. The sales tax increase would be 16%. Not only would the sales tax increase but most exemptions would be eliminated. For example, nursing home stays for the elderly would now be taxable, as would for-profit ambulatory health care, substance abuse facilities and retirement communities. Textbook purchases for our strapped college students would be taxable as would non-tuition and non-housing-related charges imposed by junior colleges, colleges, universities, and professional schools. Further, virtually every professional service would now be taxed under SB 76. Ironically, this proposal mirrors that which we have been preventing the Wolf Administration from imposing upon our state residents.
I am not voting for any bill which raises taxes in this magnitude where the sponsors of the bill repeatedly have said the bill is "not perfect" and have said that we should vote for the bill just to "move the process" forward. We are talking about a $13 billion decision based on a bill that is still a work in progress and admittedly flawed.
The proposal was to replace local school expenditures on a dollar for dollar basis resulting in a reward to all of those school districts which have overspent beyond their means, and punish all of those districts which have operated frugally and efficiently. School districts in my Senate district would be punished!! SB 76 as proposed clearly favors the urban areas of the state, not rural Pennsylvania.
Moreover the proposal only addresses future real estate taxes for schools. Existing tax obligations for bond issues would continue, some for 20 years. Local municipal real estate taxes would continue. Perhaps the most significant shift would be the virtual elimination of the need for local school boards. For certain, if $13 billion dollars is going to be paid from the state treasury, then the state will control the spending.
Don’t be fooled by the
misinformation being spread about SB 76. It is very shortsighted and certainly
not well thought out.
Supplemental Agriculture Appropriation Bill To Be Introduced
Last week, I joined my colleagues Senator Elder Vogel (R-47), Senator Dave Argall (R-29), Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) and Senator Lloyd Smucker (R-13) to sponsor legislation that will provide a supplemental appropriation for agriculture-related line items previously eliminated by Governor Tom Wolf.
The proposal includes more than $62 million in supplemental funding earmarked for the state’s Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission, Pennsylvania Veterinary Lab, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciemces and Agriculture Research.
Last month, Governor Wolf partially vetoed House Bill 1460, legislation that would have fully funded state government operations for the 2015-16 fiscal year. While exercising his line-item veto authority, Governor Wolf eliminated nearly $100 million from the Department of Agriculture’s (PDA) budget, prior to the state’s largest indoor agriculture event – the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show.
To read more,
Committee Approves Bill Reducing Size of The PA General Assembly
On January 20th, the Senate State Government Committee approved legislation that would reduce the size of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Senate Bill 488, which would decrease the Senate from 50 to 45 Senatorial Districts and the House of Representatives from 203 to 153 districts, now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
proposed change requires an amendment to the state constitution, which means the
same bill must be debated and passed by both the House and Senate in two
consecutive sessions, and subsequently approved by referendum vote from
Delay of Keystone Exam Graduation Requirement Sent to Governor
Legislation I supported that would delay the Keystone Exams graduation requirement is on its way to the governor to be signed into law.
Senate Bill 880 delays implementation of the state’s graduation tests until the 2018-2019 school year to give the state time to address concerns of parents and educators.
The Senate concurred last week on House amendments to legislation delaying the graduation requirement associated with the state’s end-of-course tests.
class of 2017 is required to pass the Keystone Exams in Algebra I, Literature,
and Biology in order to graduate. The Keystone Exams were intended to ensure
that Pennsylvania schools are preparing students effectively and efficiently for
postsecondary education or the work force. However, the tests have raised
concerns from educators, students and parents. The delay will give the state
time to refine the tests to address those concerns.
VIDEO: Century & Bicentennial Farms Recognized
On January 15th, Senator Yaw recognized two farms in the 23rd Senatorial District designated as "Century" and "Bicentennial" farms by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The Senator also recognized the Bradford County Historical Society, which was the first organization in the state to begin the recognition process for Century and Bicentennial farms.
Mifflinburg FFA Participates at PA Farm Show
Sen. Yaw met up with Mifflinburg FFA students, and advisor Charles Kessler, while at the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Lycoming, Union County Students Awarded Farm Show Scholarships
On January 12th, the Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation presented 28 college students with $3,500 scholarships during the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.
Scholarship recipients from the 23rd Senate District included:
Delaney Carey, Montoursville, Lycoming County
Brittani Hook, Lewisburg, Union County
Thank you all for
your leadership and dedication to the agriculture industry!
Community Conservation Partnerships Program (CCPP) Monies to Aid Local Projects
Today, I announced several Community Conservation Partnerships Program (CCPP) grants totaling $819,500, which will soon be awarded in Bradford, Lycoming and Union counties.
The CCPP is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and includes the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key 93), the Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener 1) and federal funding sources.
I am pleased that these investments have been made in my senatorial district. This funding will assist with the completion of park and other land and water conservation projects. Even more importantly, these dollars will generate additional revenues through increased economic, tourism and recreational activities in the Northern Tier.
To see the list of
Tax Forms are Available
Taxes are due on April 15th, and my district office has state tax forms available. To obtain forms, please call or visit either of my District Offices at:
Williamsport – 330 Pine Street, Executive Plaza Building, Suite 204 – (570) 322-6457
Towanda – 1 Elizabeth Street, Suite 13 – (570) 265-7448
Constituents can also obtain copies of the instructions through:
IRS.gov/Forms – to view and download
IRS.gov/orderforms – to order tax products to be delivered by mail
1-800-829-3676 – to order tax products to be delivered by mail
PA Free-File and PA e-File: Two Online Tax-Filing Options
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue offers two options for filing taxes online. E-filing offers advantages not available to taxpayers filing by paper, including error-reducing automatic calculators; instant confirmation of a successful filing; faster refund processing and direct deposit options. Click here to learn more about both e-filing options.
John Nobles Retires From Sayre Borough
On January 23rd, I was at the Sayre VFW to recognize John Nobles (pictured with his wife, Susan) on his retirement after 40 years with Sayre Borough.
John was born and raised in the Borough. His father was the Borough’s full-time fire truck driver when John was growing up.
John is a Vietnam War veteran and returned to Sayre following his tour of duty and eventually replaced his father as the Borough’s full-time fire truck driver in 1976. John’s situation is unique in that he is responsible for responding to emergency calls 24/7 with the exception of vacation and personal time.
John is always the first emergency responder on an accident or fire scene, but more importantly, human lives have been saved because John answered the call no matter the circumstances.
The service and
sacrifices that John and his family have given to the residents of Sayre Borough
and the Greater Valley Community is certainly to be commended and recognized!
Veterans' Trust Fund Grant Program
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is now accepting applications for
Veterans’ Trust Fund grants to help veterans’ organizations across the
state. Apply online before February 5 at
Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus
deadline for residents who served in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations --
including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm -- to apply for the Persian
Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus has been extended to Aug. 31, 2018. The bonus
pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525
maximum. Applications and more information are available online at
Shingles Vaccination Available in Susquehanna County
On Monday, February 1st, residents are encouraged to visit the Susquehanna County State Health Center 157 Spruce St., Suite 2, in Montrose, Susquehanna County, to obtain a shingles vaccination.
The vaccinations will be given from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
You are eligible for vaccines at LOW or NO COST if you are:
underinsured (your insurance does not cover the vaccine); or
uninsured (you have no insurance)
(Maximum $5.00 cost – payable by check or money order)
It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus stays in your body and can resurface any time as shingles – a painful, blistering rash. Even if you feel healthy, your risk for shingles increases as you get older.
One out of three people will develop shingles. Risk factors include age (50+ years), weakened immune system (due to diseases, cancer treatments, medications), and history of chickenpox.
The shingles vaccine (Zostavax®) can reduce the risk of developing shingles and its associated pain.
More information is
available by calling (570) 278-3889.
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