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Senator Gene Yaw

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

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, 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.

Gene Yaw
State Senator


SB 76 - "The Facts"

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.

Supporting PA’s #1 Industry

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, click here.

Legislative Re-Cap

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.

The 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 Pennsylvania voters.

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.

Currently, the 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.

Scenes from the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show

VIDEO:  Century & Bicentennial Farms Recognized

Senator Gene Yaw 
Sen. Yaw pictured with Gary E. Boyer of Mifflinburg
Click here for video

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.

Century Farm Century Farm: Pictured L to R: Hannah (Mosteller) Mentzer, Joan Dice, Jeff Dice, Emily Dice-Dunkleberger, Sen. Yaw.
Lancaster Farming Bicentennial Farm: Pictured L to R: Russell Redding, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; State Representative Fred Keller (R-85); Grace Brininger; Gary E. Boyer; Kaden Brininger; Faith Brininger; Clay Brininger; Rhonda D. Boyer; Ty Brininger; Senator Yaw; Doug Wolfgang, Director of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Farmland Preservation

For more pictures, click here.

More From the PA Farm Show

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.

Mifflinburg FFA

 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!

    DCNR Funding Approved

    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 grant recipients, click here.

    Tax Season is Upon Us

    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

  • In addition, PA Department of Revenue forms can be found here, and IRS forms can be found here.

    Constituents can also obtain copies of the instructions through:

  • – to view and download

  • – 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.

    PA Free File

    PA Free File, a free, safe, electronic filing option which allows qualifying taxpayers to file state and federal personal income tax returns simultaneously.

    PA Free File consists of software and fillable forms, both of which are available for free at

    To qualify for the free software, filers must have federal adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less. The software is available through reputable vendors approved to prepare state and federal filings.

    PA E-File

    Fed-State E-File is e-filing for a fee, a program available to those who don’t qualify for Free file tax software but who prefer electronically filing state and federal tax returns using software available from reputable vendors.

    www.padirectfile is a state-only system for electronically filing Pennsylvania income tax returns for free.

    Retirement Recognition

    John Nobles Retires From Sayre Borough

    John Nobles and Senator Gene Yaw

    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!

    Funding/Grant Opportunities Available/Deadlines Approach

    Veterans' Trust Fund Grant Program

    The state 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

    The 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

    Health Update

    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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    Harrisburg Office
    Senate Box 203023
    362 Main Capitol
    Harrisburg, PA 17120-3023
    FAX: 717-772-0575
    TTY: 800-364-1581
    Williamsport Office
    330 Pine Street
    Suite 204
    Williamsport, PA 17701
    FAX: 570-327-3703



    Towanda Office
    1 Elizabeth Street
    Suite 13
    Towanda, PA 18848
    FAX: 570-268-4313