|Senator Fontana participated in a House of Representatives Finance Committee hearing on Thursday, August 25 in Lawrenceville that discussed the Neighborhood Assistance Program.
Open Application for the Neighborhood Assistance Program
Last week, I participated in a House Finance Committee Hearing with the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and the Allegheny Conference to discuss further enhancing the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) in Pennsylvania. The overall goal of NAP is to help improve the lives of low-income people in distressed neighborhoods through the creation of an effective partnership between community-based organizations and the business and corporate community.
Specifically, projects must fall under affordable housing programs, community services, crime prevention, education, job training or neighborhood assistance. The Charitable Food Program also falls under NAP which is designed to help regional food banks. With ongoing changes in the economic situation of so many of our neighborhoods over the last several years, tax credit programs like NAP have become a more attractive resource for organizations and businesses looking to offer and carry out community based improvement programs.
And as we continue to experience an increase in need for the program, the demand and competitiveness for projects that could benefit from it are that much higher, placing an increased burden on how much the program can meet the need. Just two years ago, for example, DCED received hundreds of applications totaling more than $40 million for NAP tax credits. However, the NAP has historically been allocated with $18 million since its inception in the 1960’s.
Because I have witnessed first-hand what an effective tool this tax credit program is, I was compelled to introduce legislation to allow the program to work for even more communities and ensure that more people will be positively impacted. My Senate Bill 243 (SB 243) would increase the allocation for NAP from the current $18 million to $25 million. Though the increase my legislation calls for is a modest one, the return on investment as to what NAP can do for an area is beyond measure which is why I am confident that my proposal is a sound one.
I was also pleased that as a part of this year’s final budget agreement, NAP has been expanded to include projects that aid veterans’ housing, victims of domestic violence and more affordable housing options.
At the hearing, I highlighted I how dedicated the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber and the Allegheny Conference have been in fostering successful utilization of the NAP not only in my Senatorial District, but throughout all of Allegheny County. Through their Strengthening Communities Partnership (SCP), they have designed a program to further engage the region’s business community to help to bring back struggling communities. The SCP allows for private investment through tax credits purchased by businesses through NAP.
In a world where we hear increasing rhetoric about the importance of public-private partnerships, the SCP’s use of NAP is a prime example of how to make such a system work in real life. The program continually serves as a resource for non-profits, businesses and neighborhoods and has proved itself in making our communities better while encouraging job creation.
A prime example of how NAP funding has aided my district is in the Borough of McKees Rocks where the CDC there secured a $60 million CSX intermodal facility which broke ground at the end of last year. Another example includes the recent transformation of the Carnegie Library in Knoxville that re-opened in June which will allow our community to gain better access to modern technology and other free resources in addition to a concentration on child-friendly facilities and programs.
Additionally, there are exciting things happening in Beechview – a South Hills neighborhood – that is just a 15-minute trolley ride from downtown through the Main Street of the community. They are currently under consideration for NAP funding as part of a major revitalization project. Beechview has attracted an enthusiastic and capable developer and has secured vital state and city funding for streetscape and beautification projects. In addition, the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation has recently located there and is currently in the process of creating an incubator hub for new exciting business ventures while also promoting job and housing opportunities for new Hispanic residents who are making their home there.
As you can see, all of these examples display how diverse the endeavors are and how many different populations are positively impacted by NAP. I could go on and on about how beneficial NAP will continue to be for our region in creating jobs and reinventing our communities.
If you are interested in learning more about NAP, whose open application period runs until September 16, 2016, please click here or visit http://www.newpa.com/programs/neighborhood-assistance-program-nap/#.V8B8QeRTGUl.
Did You Know…
Did you know if the NAP had been adjusted for inflation since its inception, the total of tax credits today would have been over $100 million?
All Senate offices will be closed on Monday, September 5 in observance of Labor Day. My offices will re-open on Tuesday, September 6 as scheduled.
New Online Tools for Businesses, Tax Practitioners
I want any businesses and tax practitioners to be aware of a new tool created by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. The Department recently launched an electronic Statement of Account (e-SOA) in their Document Center. Previously only a hardcopy of the statement could be requested which the department printed and mailed. Now business tax payers and tax practitioners can request an e-SOA by simply visiting www.etides.state.pa.us. They will then receive a more detailed version by PDF the next business day in the Document Center.
The e-SOA is also enhanced with a summary at the top and detail at the end. The summary includes the three most recently filed tax periods, periods with a balance, and periods where no tax return was filed, grouped by tax type. Additional sections show items such as tax periods under appeal, unused restricted credits, and W-2 annual reconciliation, if applicable.
For more information please visit www.etides.state.pa.us or call 717-787-1064. You may also watch a video by visiting www.revenue.pa.gov and clicking on the “Electronic Statement of Account” on the homepage.
12th Annual FontanaFest
I want to remind everyone that the 12th Annual FontanaFest is scheduled for Saturday, September 24 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Once again, parking will be free in the stadium’s West Lot, compliments of Forest City!
The annual community event is perfect for families and children, promoting healthy and active lifestyles by providing many fun activities and crafts. Children will have the chance to play on several inflatables, an obstacle course, and a climbing wall and visit with a face painter and balloon maker. All attendees also are provided with the opportunity to engage with several organizations from around the region, participating in crafts and games, while also receiving important information on available services and programs, nutrition, health care, jobs and jobs training.
I’m thrilled that once again this year, students from Pittsburgh Musical Theatre will join us to perform at 11:15 a.m.! Also new to FontanaFest this year is a Roving Puppet Stage from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and three puppet shows scheduled for 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. The Pittsburgh Firefighters are also participating in this year’s event for the first time to teach children and families about fire safety.
I’m very pleased the following organizations will be joining us this year: The Home Depot, Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen’s office; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Science Center; Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; Homeless Children’s Education Fund; Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater; WQED-TV; Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy; Calgon Carbon; Penn State Center Pittsburgh; Gateway Health Plan; Comcast; Duquesne Light; PA Parks and Forests Foundation; and Life’s Work of Western PA.
Stay tuned for updates on the schedule of events, participants, and more.
Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
I will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Friday, September 30 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. American HealthCare Group will be providing free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card. Make sure to bring your card with you.
I am also pleased that several organizations from around the region will be present to provide seniors with important information on available services and resources. Organizations scheduled to participate thus far include: AARP; Allegheny County Bar Association; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy; Office of the Consumer Advocate; Public Utility Commission and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office. I will continue to update you with additional information on this year’s Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic in the coming weeks.
Coordinating Medicare & Medicaid Benefits – Lunch and Learn Event
The Allegheny County APPRISE/Allegheny Link program is hosting a series of lunch and learns with the next one scheduled for Sept. 15. APPRISE is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Pennsylvania’s Medicare beneficiaries. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging created APPRISE to help citizens with Medicare understand their health insurance options so they can make informed decisions about which plan is best for them.
The Sept. 15 event will feature a presentation on coordinating Medicare and Medicaid benefits and the upcoming changes in Medicare coverage for duel eligible beneficiaries in 2017. Some people are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid at the same time, which is known as being duel eligible. This presentation will examine the special characteristics of duel eligibility under the Medicare and Medicaid systems, how each system coordinates with each other, and the unique problems that duel eligibility generates. Attendees can also learn about significant and far reaching changes that begin in 2017 for the access and utilization of health care by duel eligible individuals in Pennsylvania, the Community Health Choices (CHC) initiative.
The program starts at 11:30 a.m. with lunch with the presentation beginning at noon and running until 3 p.m. and will take place at the Allegheny County Human Service Building, located at One Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh.
For more information about this program or to R.S.V.P., please contact Bill McKendree at 412-661-1670, ext. 645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back To School Immunizations
The PA Department of Health is holding immunization clinics across the commonwealth through this Friday, September 2 to provide vaccines at little or no cost for children through 18 years of age who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, underinsured, or American Indian or Alaska Native. The cost is $5 per child for families above income guidelines. No child will be turned away because of an inability to pay.
The Allegheny County Health Department will be performing these immunizations here locally. They are located at 3441 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland neighborhood in the City of Pittsburgh. Immunizations are available from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 1 – 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, please call 412-578-8062.
Stroll the Strip
Eat, drink and stroll your way through the Strip District on Friday, Sept. 9 from 5 – 8 p.m.! Strip District Neighbors is hosting the annual Stroll the Strip, highlighting the amazing businesses and flavors that make the Strip District a culinary treasure.
Stroll stops include Pittsburgh Winery, Wigle Whiskey Distillery, Society of Contemporary Craft, Lidia’s Pittsburgh, Harp and Fiddle, Maggie’s Farm Distillery, Beer Hive/Pittsburgh Pickle Co., Savoy, In the Kitchen, Stamboolis Brothers Company, Osteria2350, Thin Man Sandwich, Cavo, Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange and more!
For more information and to purchase advance tickets please visit www.strollthestrip.com. All proceeds from Stroll the Strip benefit the Strip District Neighbors, a 501c3 organization with the mission of promoting economic development and a high quality of life in Pittsburgh’s Strip District while preserving the personality, integrity, and character of the Strip.
Taste of Beechview
The 4th annual Taste of Beechview is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10 from 2 – 5 p.m. The festival will take place in the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s lot at Beechview and Broadway Avenues and along the sidewalks of the 1500 and 1600 blocks of Broadway. Attendees will have the chance to sample some of Beechview’s best restaurants and caterers reflecting the neighborhood’s rich diversity and culture. There also will be live music, prizes from local businesses, and the chance to take a photo with the two-dimensional re-creation of the historic Beechview trolley. Following the Taste of Beechview will be a happy hour from 5 – 7 p.m. featuring specials from The Alpine, BREW on Broadway, and Moose Lodge 609.
Riverhounds Development Academy Girls
Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Development Academy Girls (RDA) on being invited to join the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) of U.S. Club Soccer for the 2017 season! This league is the highest level of play for youth female soccer players in the country. The Academy Girls will join an elite league of competition featuring only 84 clubs nationwide that showcases female players in front of an enormous audience of college coaches across the country. The Academy Girls become the fourth club in Pennsylvania to join this exclusive league, and the only club from the western part of the state. To read more about the Riverhounds and their soccer academy please visit them online at www.riverhounds.com.
When the first Labor Day was celebrated in the United States in 1882, the average American was working 12 hour days, seven days a week.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
524 Pine Hollow Road
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Tuesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Northside (Mobile Office)
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Lawrenceville (Mobile Office)
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Thursdays - 11 am - 4 pm