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Senator Wayne D. Fontana
Senator Fontana speaks at grand opening of the Mackey Lofts project in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood on July 15th.  Senator Fontana speaks at grand opening of the Mackey Lofts project in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood on July 15th. 

Senator Fontana speaks at grand opening of the Mackey Lofts project in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood on July 15th.  ACTION-Housing hosted the ceremony for the project that creates 43 living units, 18 of which have special accessibility features, including those designed to meet the needs of the deaf, deaf-blind and hard-of-hearing community.  The ceremony concluded with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

New Technology Venture Investments – Innovate in PA

At the start of the legislative session earlier this year, Senate Bill 456 (SB 456) was introduced that would create the Innovate in Pennsylvania Program to provide a new predictable source of funding for early-stage venture capital investment through the sale of deferred tax credits.   This program would help establish new technology-based industries in Pennsylvania while also producing family-sustaining jobs and investing long-term into the Commonwealth.  I was a co-sponsor to SB 456, which essentially became a part of the budget negotiations in the Tax Code.  Although the majority in the House of Representatives drastically reduced the amount of tax credits that will be offered in the coming years, I am pleased such an initiative passed that will help make our state competitive again and invite new companies to our state.  

Typically, the first $500,000 of “seed” capital is the hardest for technology-based start-up companies because they are often considered too risky for traditional bank financing.  Because of its proven track record, it has been found that when an initial Ben Franklin investment is involved for example, private investors become more interested.  The Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA) is a state-sponsored initiative that funds regional technology accelerators, think South Side-based Innovation Works, by selling deferred tax credits to insurance companies. 

Ben Franklin Technology PartnersInnovate in PA will offer $100 million of deferred premium tax credits to qualified insurance companies that pay the state’s insurance premium tax liability in 2017.  For every $1 of tax credit offered, insurance providers will receive an up-front discount.  The advantage to the Commonwealth is that the state can immediately invest the capital raised through the sale of the deferred tax credits and put the money to work.  Ultimately, investments received from participating insurance companies will be distributed to the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, who will receive half of the proceeds, 45 percent going towards the PA Venture Capital Investment Programs, and the remaining 5 percent towards Life Sciences Greenhouses. 

The creation of Innovate in Pennsylvania will provide a huge boost of funding for these technology-based programs, especially for the Ben Franklin which saw its allocation go from $53 million to $14 million in 2011.  Furthermore, it is believed that passage of this law could put Pennsylvania back into the top three states in terms of early-stage investments.  This program comes at no cost the General Fund because it is expected that the Innovate in Pennsylvania program will generate private sector leverage, employment and tax revenues that will offset the budget impact of the credits at such time they are claimed by insurance companies starting in 2016.  For example, based on its past track record Ben Franklin has been credited with sustaining and bringing hundreds of new ventures to the state with a 3-1 return on investment for state dollars. 

I am very pleased that Innovate in PA was included in the Tax Code during this budget because our state needs more programs that help finance the early stages of new business ventures.  However, I am disappointed that the House majority stripped away nearly half of the $175 million for Innovate in PA that the Senate originally passed.  As the Commonwealth climbs out of the recession, new programs like Innovate in PA need to be created to attract and assist growing industries so that these businesses come and stay in Pennsylvania. 

Alzheimer’s Disease Public Comment

PA Department of AgingThe Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee will be holding a series of public meetings this summer and fall to hear comments from the public on issues associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.  The Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee is tasked with developing a comprehensive state plan by February 2014 that prescribes ways to address the Alzheimer’s Disease crisis in Pennsylvania.

The Committee’s first public meeting was yesterday in Harrisburg and after meetings in State College, Scranton, Philadelphia, and Clarion, the Committee will host a meeting in Pittsburgh on September 17th.  The meeting is taking place at the University of Pittsburgh’s William Pitt Union Building on 5th Avenue from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The purpose of these meetings is for members of the Committee to hear comments from the public on the needs of Pennsylvanians suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, what resources are needed to support those afflicted and their families and caregivers, and ideas for the state to better respond to the growing number of Pennsylvanians who have Alzheimer’s Disease.

If you are interested in attending one of these meetings, or offering comment, you may contact the Pennsylvania Department of Aging by phone at 717-425-5115 or 1-800-753-8827, or by email at alzstateplan@pa.gov to reserve your time.  You may also submit comments in writing to alzstateplan@pa.gov or by mail to:  555 Walnut Street, 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA  17101.

Did You Know…

Did you know that Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and that today more than five million Americans are living with the disease?

Senator Fontana speaks at grand opening of the Mackey Lofts project in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood on July 15th. 

Senator Fontana makes remarks at a ceremony hosted by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy at McKinley Park in Beltzhoover on July 12th.  The ceremony celebrated the completion of a project to restore the park’s historic stone entryway and stairs, parking lot and rain gardens.

CLASS

CLASSSince 1951, UCP of Pittsburgh, later known as UCP/CLASS has been serving as a non-profit, community resource, supporting individuals with cerebral palsy and a wide range of disabilities.  Recently, UCP/CLASS has undergone a name change and is now simply known as CLASS (Community Living and Support Service).  Their new website is www.classcommunity.org.  This name change will not interrupt or reduce the quality or quantity of support services they provide.  For more information about CLASS, please visit them online at www.classcommunity.org or call 412-683-7100.  

Attention Job Seekers

Job GatewayThe PA Department of Labor & Industry has a website that connects job seekers and employers.  The site, www.jobgateway.pa.gov, allows individuals seeking a job to view more than 200,000 job openings from across the state and post a resume on the site that can be viewed by employers.  Employers can use the site to find potential employees and view resumes of interested candidates.  Whether you’re looking for a job or an employer seeking new employees, you can get started by visiting the site and registering for free.

Supporting Focus on Renewal

Mylan ClassicThe PGA Nationwide Tour returns to western Pennsylvania later this month with the 4th Annual Mylan Classic, July 29th – August 4th at Southpointe Golf Club in Canonsburg.  Through the ANSYS TICKETS Fore CHARITY program, the Mylan Classic will donate 100% of all ticket sales to local charities, including Focus on Renewal (FOR).  Additionally, FOR will earn a percentage of the $35,000 Bonus Pool that will be distributed among the participating non-profits based on the program’s total ticket sales.

Every person who purchases a ticket for this event can select a non-profit organization, including FOR, and the Mylan Classic will donate 100% of the proceeds from the ticket price to the selected organization.  Tickets are $25 for the weekly ground pass, which permits access to the tournament grounds all week as well as clinics and concerts.  To purchase tickets online please visit https://www.mylanclassic.com/buytix/FOCUSONRENEWAL or call 724-746-3535.  Ticket order forms are also available by contacting Chris Crytzer at 412-771-6460, ext. 305 or ccrytzer@forstorox.org.

Ingram Days Celebration

Ingram Borough is hosting their annual Ingram Days Celebration this weekend, Saturday, July 20th and Sunday, July 21st at Ingram Park.  The park is located at the corner of Ingram and Foster Avenues, across from the Crafton-Ingram Shopping Center.  The two-day festival begins at noon on Saturday with a parade along Ingram Avenue.  Food, games, and crafter booths will be open on Saturday from 1 – 11 p.m. and Sunday from 3 – 11 p.m.  Also featured during the festival is an airbrush tattoo artist, face painting, balloon artists and live music. A fireworks show Sunday evening will cap off the event.

Breakfast and a Movie

The Dormont Hollywood Theater hosts a monthly “Breakfast and a Movie” and the next event is scheduled for this Sunday, July 21st.  The event features a light brunch, catered by Kelly James, and a classic movie with this month’s being Rebel Without a Cause.  Doors at the Hollywood Theater open for brunch at 10:50 a.m. with the film beginning at 11:30.  Food for the brunch is first come, first served and tickets for the brunch must be purchased the Thursday before the movie online or at the Theater, located at 1449 Potomac Avenue in Dormont.  Tickets for the film only can be purchased at the door on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.  For more information on the Hollywood Theater including a monthly schedule, family nights, kids and senior matinees and other special events, please visit them online at www.thehollywooddormont.org or call 412-563-0368.

Brookline Business Feature

Tisha's Sunny FarmThis week’s featured Brookline business is Tisha’s Sunny Farms, located at 600 Brookline Boulevard.  Established in 2009, Tisha’s Sunny Farms offers customers an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, featuring a variety of dishes such as eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, burgers, wings and wraps.  Customers may eat-in or place orders for takeout.  Tisha’s Sunny Farms is open daily from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.  For more information, please contact them at 412-892-4590.  Please continue to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Steetscape Project and remember:

Brookline is open for business!

PiratesFontana Fact

Five members of the Pittsburgh Pirates were selected to play in the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game tonight.  Outfielder Andrew McCutcheon was selected for the third time and is joined by 1st time selections Pedro Alvarez, Jason Grilli, Jeff Locke and Mark Melancon.  This is third straight year more than one Pirate has been selected for the All-Star Game but the first time since 1972 that five members were selected.  That year, Steve Blass, Roberto Clemente, Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen, and Willie Stargell were selected. 

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

  Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
Harrisburg
543 Main Capitol
Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plz.
524 Pine Hollow Rd
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Fax: 412-331-2079
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418
CLASS (Community Living and Support Service Job Gateway Mylan Classic PA Department of Aging