Senator Yaw E-Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

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, Tioga 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.

Gene Yaw
State Senator
www.SenatorGeneYaw.com

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Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Assistance

My office is available to assist you with processing Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program forms! Call 570-322-6457 (Williamsport) or 570-724-5231 (Wellsboro) to schedule an appointment.

Legislative Update…

It was a busy session week in Harrisburg! I introduced legislation to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) carbon tax enacted through executive order by the Wolf Administration in 2019. RGGI, a multi-state compact, would increase electricity rates for consumers, cut energy and manufacturing jobs and lead to the closure of Pennsylvania power plants.

Senate Bill 1058 was reported from the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, which I chair, last Monday and will now move to the full Senate for consideration. There is more work to be done, but this legislation is an important component to ensuring energy reliability, sustainability, and affordability for Pennsylvania families and businesses. Read more HERE

Last Monday, legislation I sponsored to establish an Independent Energy Office (IEO) in the Commonwealth was reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Pennsylvania has one of the most diverse energy portfolios in the United States. I believe an Independent Energy Office can provide impartial, timely, and data-driven analysis to guide our state in determining and meeting future energy needs. Senate Bill 832 now moves to the full Senate for consideration. Read more HERE.

On Tuesday, we heard Gov. Shapiro’s proposal for the 2024-25 state budget, which includes an excessive $3.2 billion increase- a jump of 7.1% in state spending.

In addition to making it extremely difficult to balance future budgets, the governor’s spending plan would eliminate the state’s current and future budgetary reserves in the next five years. Unrealistic spending and revenue projections mean the governor’s budget plan will likely require deep spending cuts and painful broad-based tax increases on Pennsylvanians much sooner.

Shapiro’s budget approach, which would likely result in higher inflation when families are already struggling, runs in opposition to the cautious and responsible budgets Senate Republicans have fought to enact. In the next several months, Senate Republicans will examine Shapiro’s budget proposal and search for greater efficiencies. The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin its series of budget hearings to study the budget proposal on Feb. 20.

Additionally, I was pleased to join my Senate colleagues in passing a measure calling for action to address the crisis at America’s southern border and supporting the rights of states to protect their citizens.

Senate Resolution 234 voices support for the actions of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to secure the border amid federal inaction by the Biden Administration.

By supporting Gov. Abbott’s Constitutional authority to defend Texas against failing federal policies inflicting crisis at the border, Pennsylvania is sending the message that we stand for the rule of law and the protection of our communities.

On the Road…

I had a great meeting with Leadership Lycoming participants during their annual “Government Day” program, sponsored by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

The specialized training program is designed to understand the needs of the community it serves and develop and motivate effective leaders. Over two dozen individuals make up the current Class of 2024.  Candidates are nominated by businesses, corporations, or professional organizations where they are employed and selected based on their demonstrated leadership potential and sincere desire to contribute time and effort within their community.

The application window for the Class of 2025 is now open. Interested individuals can download an application form here.

Earlier this month, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, which I chair, traveled to Ohio’s State House in Columbus for a hearing on energy reliability, sustainability, and affordability.

Grid stability requires a diverse energy portfolio and actions taken by any one state can have resounding and immediate impacts on neighboring states. I’m thankful to our neighbors in Ohio for recognizing the urgency of this issue and joining with me to proactively protect our region’s families and businesses from catastrophic rolling blackouts and skyrocketing costs.

The hearing was our second of two on grid reliability. We’ve made an impact, but there is still more work to be done.

Read more HERE and watch my comments with Ohio House of Representatives Public Utilities Committee chairman, Rep. Dick Stein HERE.

Recently, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors, which I chair, hosted a public hearing on rural population change at Thiel College in Greenville, Mercer County.

The Center has done extensive research on this issue and projections indicate that by 2050, the population within PA rural counties is expected to shrink by 5.8%.

Testifiers at the hearing provided insights into how these changes will likely impact a wide range of policy issues, including workforce availability, housing, healthcare, education, and transportation.

2023 Accomplishments: Supporting PA Seniors

As part of Senate Republicans’ commitment to healthy and safe communities, we are focused on supporting Pennsylvania seniors. This means making sure they have access to the health care they need and preventing their exploitation.

One new law adjusts Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes so the facilities can continue to meet the needs of vulnerable patients. Another law ensures seniors do not lose access to Pennsylvania’s prescription drug programs due to an increase in their Social Security payments.

A third piece of legislation recently signed into law aims to prevent elder abuse by strengthening guardianship laws. It protects vulnerable adults within the guardianship system from fraud, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Property Tax Relief is Available for Homeowners

Most homes and farms are eligible for property tax reduction under the Homestead Tax Exemption program.

Under a homestead or farmstead property tax exclusion, the assessed value of each homestead or farmstead is reduced by the same amount before the property tax is computed.

To receive school property tax relief for tax years beginning July 1 or Jan. 1, an application for homestead or farmstead exclusions must be filed by the preceding March 1. School districts are required to notify homeowners by Dec. 31 of each year if their property is not approved for the homestead or farmstead exclusion or if their approval is due to expire. Learn more and find an application.

Improving Pennsylvanians’ Experiences by Increasing Broadband Access

Federal grants are available to improve the experiences Pennsylvanians have at medical care facilities, schools and libraries. The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority’s Capital Projects Fund allows for investment in high-quality broadband infrastructure as well as other connectivity infrastructure, devices and equipment.

The $45 million of competitive grants can be used for community projects to construct, acquire or improve facilities that will enable work, education and health monitoring.

Grants will be awarded in amounts ranging from $250,000 to $2 million. Apply online through April 20. While the grant funding was awarded through a federal program, it supports Senate Republicans’ priority of infrastructure advancement.

PA VETConnect Helps Veterans Access Programs and Services

Because of legislation supported by Senate Republicans, PA VETConnect makes it easier for Pennsylvania’s 700,000 veterans to access the programs and services available to help them.

Administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, PA VETConnect benefits service members, veterans and their families. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.

Resource areas include benefits, employment, financial assistance, post-traumatic stress, mental wellness and substance use.

Preventing Cancer by Increasing Access to Screenings

The federal government estimated that nearly two million Americans would be diagnosed with cancer and that more than 600,000 would die from their disease in 2023. Research shows that more than 40% of those cases can be attributed to preventable causes such as smoking, physical inactivity, excessive exposure to the sun and excess body weight.

Making healthier choices can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. Learn how you can put yourself on a better path and test your cancer prevention knowledge here.

Senate Republicans passed legislation that is now law to help Pennsylvanians get the preventative cancer testing they need. Specifically, it eliminates out-of-pocket costs for genetic testing of hereditary cancer syndromes and supplemental breast screenings for women at high risk of developing breast cancer.

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