Subscribe to this e-update.
Senator Wayne D. Fontana
Senator Fontana spoke at a March 6 press conference at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall that addressed Governor Wolf’s Restore PA initiative.

Senator Fontana spoke at a March 6 press conference at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall that addressed Governor Wolf’s Restore PA initiative. This initiative aims to prevent flooding, eliminate blight and expand broadband to all Pennsylvanians. The governor chose Carnegie for this event as this is one of the communities in the region that has been impacted by flooding over the years.  

 
Sen. Fontana takes tour of the facility.

Prior to the event, Maggie Forbes, the Carnegie Carnegie’s Executive Director provided a tour of the facility to Governor Wolf, Senator Fontana, Representative Kulik and Representative Deasy. Special thanks to all the officials who attended including Allegheny County Councilperson Pat Catena and Carnegie Mayor Stacie Riley.

Restore Pennsylvania Initiative

Last week I joined Governor Tom Wolf and other members of the Allegheny County delegation at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall regarding the Restore Pennsylvania Plan that would overhaul and fund infrastructure projects throughout the commonwealth.  I was especially pleased that Carnegie was one of the stops on Governor Wolf’s tour since this area, and neighboring communities, have been no stranger to infrastructure problems due to devastating flooding and landslides. 

The Restore Pennsylvania plan would borrow $4.5 billion over the next four years to rehabilitate a variety of aging infrastructure programs across the state since the majority of infrastructure projects are not covered by the commonwealth’s annual budget.  Specifically, the new program would focus on blight reduction, economic development, high-speed access to internet in rural communities, flood prevention efforts, disaster recovery and relief, and stormwater sewage issues to name a few.  Projects would be evaluated through a competitive process to ensure that the high priority, high impact projects get funded across the state. 

Restore PA would be funded by a commonsense and reasonable severance tax on gas production.  Currently, Pennsylvania is the only gas-producing state without a severance tax.  Instead we have an impact fee which is a flat-rate fee per well that does not take into account the cost or volume of gas being extracted.  Additionally, these monies mostly go to the municipalities and counties near where the drilling occurs in the state’s Marcellus Shale regions or for drilling regulations.

The governor’s plan would continue to collect an impact fee and add the severance tax which would generate revenue based on the amount of oil and gas produced, with the average being 3.8 percent while fluctuating with the price of gas.  It is estimated that the tax would generate $300 million in new tax revenue to fund projects through a 20-year bond that carries 5 percent interest. 

I know that Carnegie and many other areas in my district would benefit from Restore Pennsylvania and I am proud to be a co-sponsor to this initiative. By embracing Restore PA, we can make crucial improvements to our infrastructure now – and avoid more costly and dire consequences in the years to come.  Because let’s face it, we cannot continue to keep putting band-aides on our aging infrastructure.  Not to mention this plan will create jobs and make the Pittsburgh region even more attractive to businesses and other investments.  With the governor’s leadership, I am calling on local officials and my constituents to join us by advocating for this program and for our communities. 

Upcoming Job Fair

Job FairOn Thursday, March 28, with Rep. Dan Deasy and in partnership with PA Career Link and Building Bridges for Business, we will be hosting a Job Fair for any interested job seekers.  The Job Fair is being held in the Social Hall at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, located at 1810 Belasco Avenue in Beechview from 4 – 7 p.m.

The Job Fair will feature local companies looking to fill positions now.  There will also be representatives in attendance to talk about apprenticeships and other technical training programs to help individuals gain information on acquiring new skills to become gainfully employed.

If you are looking for work or are interested in potential apprenticeships or other technical training, please consider attending this Job Fair.  If you have family or friends who may be interested, please share this information with them.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

Property TaxI want to remind everyone the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is accepting applications for the 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.  If you filed a paper rebate last year, you should receive an application in the mail.  Applications are also available at my district offices, online at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling 1-888-222-9190.  As always, my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older.  The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters.  Please keep in mind, half of Social Security income is excluded.

Applications are due to the Department of Revenue by June 30 and rebates will be distributed beginning July 1. The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming.

DCNR Grant Opportunities

DCEDThe PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) is accepting applications through April 10 for recreation and conservation grants.  DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation provides technical and grant assistance in support of community projects that help plan, acquire and develop parks, recreation facilities, trails, and conserve critical conservation areas and watersheds.

The current Pennsylvania Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, which can be viewed by visiting http://www.paoutdoorrecplan.com/, identifies Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation priorities, strategies and actions.  Complementing the Recreation Plan Priorities, the Bureau will also focus grant funds on a few Bureau priorities including:

Community Parks & Recreation – Priority projects in this category include planning and development projects that focus on rehabilitation of existing parks.

Land Conservation/Watershed Protection – Priority projects in this category include land conservation projects that protect critical habitat, forested watersheds, wetlands, and riparian corridors or create critical connections between public or conservation lands.

Watershed Restoration/Rivers Implementation – Priority projects in this category include projects that enhance public access to Pennsylvania’s waterways or projects that improve Pennsylvania’s watersheds and waterways including the planting of riparian forest buffers.

Trails – Priority projects in this category include projects that close priority trail gaps as well as projects that rehabilitate or upgrade existing trails.

Detailed program information, recorded webinars, and access to the online grant application can be found by clicking here or visiting www.dcnr.pa.gov.  Interested applicants needing assistance with their grant application can contact the Bureau’s Southwest Region office at 412-880-0486.

Did You Know…

Did you know that since 1993 the Keystone Fund has supported more than 300 trail projects, more than 2,400 community park development projects, and conserved more 117,400 acres throughout the commonwealth?

Slot Machine Revenue Increases Slightly

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced recently that revenue generated from slot machines in Pennsylvania increased 0.5% percent in February compared with February 2018.  Revenue from slot machines in February totaled more than $189.9 million, an increase from last February’s slot machine revenue of $189 million.  Tax revenue from slot machine play in February totaled more than $98.9 million.

The state’s gaming industry employs about 17,000 people and generates approximately $1.4 billion annually in tax revenue from both slot machines and table games.  For more information on gaming in Pennsylvania and to read reports from the Gaming Control Board, please visit them online at www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.

Ohio Valley Hospital’s Diabetes Day

Ohio Valley HospitalOhio Valley Hospital is hosting their 11th annual Diabetes Day, located in the School of Nursing Auditorium at the hospital on 25 Heckel Road in Kennedy Township. The event is scheduled for Thursday, March 21 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and will provide attendees the ABC’s of Free Testing: A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Cooking demonstrations and expert lectures will also be featured, and guests can receive free samples and visit with vendors.  Free parking will be provided.  For more information please call 412-771-6205.

Fontana Fact

Last Sunday we turned the clocks forward one hour as part of Daylight Saving Time. This practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, was devised to make better use of natural daylight. In 1916 Germany switched to Daylight Saving Time on April 30, becoming the first country in the world to use Daylight Saving Time on a national level.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Brookline District
1039 Brookline Boulevard
Suite 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
Harrisburg
543 Main Capitol | Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza
524 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – First Tuesday of each month or by appointment