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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

 

Short Term Investment Pool Loan

Last week, it was announced that $700 million had been authorized to be borrowed from the Short Term Investment Pool (STIP) and put into the General Fund under a request from Governor Corbett’s Administration.  STIP is an investment pool for special fund accounts outside the state’s General Fund, including the Lottery Fund, Motor License Fund, Banking Fund and many others.  Although the administration is permitted to borrow up to $1.5 billion this fiscal year, the loan is for $700 million at this time.  

Pennsylvania State Treasurer Robert McCord consented to enter into a short term loan agreement with the administration after the state government’s main bank account’s balance dropped below zero for the first time in at least 14 years.  Transferring this funding will allow the state to be able to continue paying vendor bills and payments to school districts in the coming months even with the current cash flow crunch. 

Although it is not unusual for the state to need to borrow from STIP in late winter, the current situation warrants concern because the fund balance fell below zero less than three months after the 2014-15 budget passed.  On average, in September, cash available for expenses usually exceeds $3 billion.  Without the loan, the General Fund faced the prospect of being in a negative balance for most of the time between now and March and April when the largest tax collections come in.   

Similar borrowing happened in December 2013 when STIP provided $1.5 billion to replenish the General Fund and in February 2009, at the height of the Great Recession.  However, the General Fund has not been in such a tight cash position since 1991 when $1.45 billion was requested.

On a more positive note, borrowing from STIP means the state will avoid paying higher interest rates and fees than if Pennsylvania had to borrow from funds through market sources. Additionally, through this arrangement, there will be no transaction costs for the STIP loan, while at the same time the investment pool funds earn interest. 

Flu/Pneumonia Shots & Senior Clinic – Next Tuesday!

Flu shotI want to once again remind everyone that my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, September 30th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline.  American HealthCare Group will be providing the free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card.  Make sure to bring your card with you.

In addition to receiving a flu or pneumonia vaccination, attendees will have the opportunity to visit with representatives from several organizations and learn about services and resources available to them.  The Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy will be in attendance to answer specific questions about medications.  The Attorney General’s office will also be represented, providing information to seniors on protecting themselves from abuse and from scams, frauds and identity theft.  I am pleased to also have the following organizations in attendance providing important information:  Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging; Primary Care Health Services; AARP; Office of the Consumer Advocate; LifeSpan; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; PA APPRISE; Seton Center and Just Harvest.   

If you need a flu or pneumonia shot or if you’re interested in visiting with these organizations, I hope you’ll consider attending.  Light refreshments will be served.  I hope to see you there!

PHEAA Job Fair

Vote PA PHEAA PHEAA The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is hosting a Job Fair to fill full-time, entry-level positions for Call Center Representatives/Loan Counselors at its Parkway Center facility, located at 11 Parkway Center in Green Tree.  The Job Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, October 8th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Suite 110.  Representatives from PHEAA’s Human Resources and FedLoan Servicing departments will be available to provide information about employment opportunities, answer questions and conduct on-site interviews.

As Vice-Chair of PHEAA’s Board of Directors, I was pleased to announce the opening of this new Customer Service Center last fall.  With the help of skilled workers from right here in western Pennsylvania, this Customer Service Center is helping PHEAA continue to provide the best possible customer service to millions of student loan borrowers throughout the region, the Commonwealth and the nation.  These workers, and this facility, help PHEAA service its growing portfolio of federally-owned student loans for nearly six million borrowers.

For more information on the Job Fair and to learn more about available positions, or to submit an application online, please visit www.PHEAA.org/jobs.

Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans Bonus

Persian Gulf Veterans BonusThe Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) wants to remind Pennsylvania Veterans that they have until August 31, 2015 to apply for a special one-time payment to honor their service and sacrifice if they served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations from August 2, 1990 – August 31, 1991.

More than 10,500 Persian Gulf Veterans have applied for the one-time cash bonus program since the Department began accepting applications in 2008.  The bonus pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum.  For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family.  Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000.

In each case, the service member must have:

  • served with the U.S. Armed Forces, a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Pennsylvania National Guard

  • Served on active duty in the Persian Gulf theater of operations during the period August 2, 1990 – August 31, 1991 and received the Southwest Asia Service Medal

  • Been a legal resident of Pennsylvania at the time of active duty service

  • Been discharged from active duty under honorable conditions, if not currently on active duty

For more information on how to apply, please visit www.persiangulfbonus.state.pa.us.

Serving Local Veterans

Stand Down 2014The Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania (VLP) is hosting Stand Down Pittsburgh, an annual day-long homeless Veterans services fair.  The annual event is scheduled for Saturday, October 4th from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship, located at 13 Pride Street in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood.  In addition to breakfast and lunch, VLP offers a food pantry; haircuts; hot showers; personal care items; entertainment; legal assistance; eye, dental and general health care; clothing and much more.  Free transportation is available.  For more information on this event or if you know a Veteran that needs transportation please contact 412-481-8200 or email info@vlpwpa.org.

VLP has worked with men and women who are transitioning from military service to civilian life since 1982.  This independent, non-profit organization was founded by local Vietnam Veterans, and serves all Veterans who reside in western Pennsylvania.  VLP can assist Veterans with a variety of services including: emergency, transitional and permanent housing; rent and utility assistance; employment counseling; financial and budgeting services; legal aid; VA benefit applications; and referrals to many agencies for counseling services.

VLP’s team of experienced professionals includes male and female Veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, family members of Veterans, and civilians who assist more than 2,000 Veterans each year.  Whether it is a quick question or essential services, VLP is able to assist.  If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran in need of assistance, please contact VLP at 412-481-8200 or info@vlpwpa.org.  More information about VLP can be found on their website www.NeverForgetVets.org or www.vlpwpa.org.

Did You Know…

Did you know that Pennsylvania has the 4th highest concentration of Veterans and the 8th largest population of women Veterans in the United States?  In addition, Allegheny County has the highest number of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

 

 

Rosedale Technical College

Rosedale Technical CollegeLast week Rosedale President Dennis Wilke announced that Rosedale Technical Institute has officially become, Rosedale Technical College, after receiving approval from the Commonwealth.  Rosedale, celebrating its 65th anniversary this month, is making the change to more accurately reflect the non-profit’s historic and growing impact on workforce development made greater with newly announced program offerings.

Today, Rosedale has more than 400 students currently enrolled in associate degree and diploma programs at its 153,000 square foot, hands-on learning campus in Kennedy Township.  Its job placement rate is over 90 percent and last year, Rosedale became affiliated with the Precision Manufacturing Institute in Meadville and has made significant strides to enhance operations and program offerings. 

As a board member of the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, I was happy to support Rosedale’s application for funding to help support its soon-to-be launched welding program.  This program, along with a new industrial technician program, helps workforce development in our region by connecting more students with well-paying jobs in the energy sector.  Rosedale programs are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

Congratulations to Rosedale Technical College and continued success in preparing students for jobs that need filled now!

 

8th Annual NAMI Walk

NAMI Walk NAMI Walks

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southwestern Pennsylvania is hosting its 8th Annual NAMI Walk on Sunday, October 5th at the Waterfront in Homestead.  The festivities begin at 9 a.m. with the walk beginning promptly at 10 a.m.

The family-friendly event features complimentary refreshments, music, activities for children, entertainment, and a 5K walk along the scenic Steel Valley Trail along the Great Allegheny Passage.  There is no fee to register but fundraising is encouraged.  All funds raised support NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania in its mission to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness through recovery focused support, education, and advocacy. 

For more information or to register, please visit www.namiwalks.org or call 412-366-3788.

 

Used Book Sale

booksThe Friends of Scott Township Public Library will hold its annual Used Book Sale from September 25th – September 28th in the Community Room at Scott Township Park.  There will be over 5,000 books for sale.  On Thursday, the Used Book Sale runs from 6 – 8 p.m. for members only.  The following is the rest of the schedule:

            Friday, September 26th            11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
            Saturday, September 27th       10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
            Sunday, September 28th          11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information on the Used Book Sale, please visit the Friends of Scott Township Public Library on Facebook.  You may also visit www.scottlibrary.org or call 412-429-5380.

Fontana Fact

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, water infrastructure may be considered “gray” or “green.”  Gray infrastructure refers to traditional practices for storm water management and wastewater treatment whereas green infrastructure refers to sustainable pollution reducing practices that also provide ecosystem services such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions or increased flood control.  Examples of small-scale green practices include rain gardens and rain barrels.  Rain barrels save most homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. about 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months.

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
Flu Shot Rosedale Technical College Stand Down Pittsburgh Persian Gulf Veterans Bonus