Senator Fontana attended the Brentwood Borough Council meeting on March 20th. Prior to the meeting, Senator Fontana got the chance to view the Borough's recently purchased bucket truck. Standing with Senator Fontana are (left to right): Robert Mackewich, Brentwood Public Works Supervisor; David Wenzell, Brentwood Borough Council President; Brentwood Mayor Ken Lockhart; Jeff Golvash, President of Brentwood Business Owners Association; and Marty Vickless, Brentwood Council Member.
Liberty Financing Authority
This week has proven to be a great step forward for businesses as well as economic development across Pennsylvania. I am pleased to announce that legislation has been advanced that would give the Commonwealth even better opportunities to financially assist businesses across the state.
When Governor Corbett took office in 2011 he proposed a Liberty Financing Authority (LFA) which would promote business growth by taking advantage of low-interest bond rates while granting more flexibility to move funds around to meet the needs of various economic development business programs. However, this initiative never made it through the 2011 budget negotiations due to concerns raised by both Democrat and Republican legislators.
Over the past year, I have worked diligently with my colleagues to iron out our differences in order to get this authority under way. As minority chair of the Senate’s Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, I am proud to have helped foster the way for passage in committee of Senate Bill 1257 (SB 1257) which is the vehicle for the Liberty Financing Authority. Under this legislation, the LFA will have the ability to combine nine existing Department of Economic Development (DCED) business financing programs to be placed under one “umbrella,” that will administer about $1.1 billion in loan guarantees.
The LFA will be governed by a 15-member board including members from the private sector that will sell both tax-exempt and taxable bonds to investors to generate revenue. This money would then be distributed to business projects to meet demand through financing. Furthermore, the expenses of the authority will be paid from the assets or income of the authority and not from the Commonwealth.
Senate Bill 682 (SB 682), also passed in committee, is a bill I authored with the intent of further enhancing the LFA by utilizing an additional business financing program DCED currently administers. Due to underutilization of the current Second Stage Loan Program, I have revitalized and expanded the program so that it will meet the needs of and attract more interest from the small business industry.
The Second Stage Loan Program was established to drive economic development specifically for commercial lending institutions that make loans to life sciences, advanced technology or manufacturing businesses. Because of the lack of business history, banks are often reluctant to extend lines of credit to early-stage businesses. The Second Stage Loan Program provides guarantees in an aggregated amount not to exceed $50 million.
Under SB 682, the Second Stage Loan Program would become the Small Business Investment Guarantee Program that would allow a commercial lending institution or economic development organization the ability to make loan guarantees available to any eligible small business (under 100 employees) located in Pennsylvania. A loan guarantee may be up to $1 million for any one loan.
In the future, I hope to offer SB 682 as an amendment to the Liberty Financing Authority legislation. This legislation offers an essential program to help spur additional economic growth. The LFA legislation has come a long way since first written. I am proud to have become a co-sponsor to this measure and look forward to voting in its favor as it proceeds through the legislative process. The sooner Pennsylvania starts to invest in the various economic development initiatives the sooner our local communities as well as the state will see a return of revenue back to areas that need it the most.
Skills for Success
There is still time to register for the four remaining free career workshops in the Skills for Success: The Fontana Series. I was proud to have funded this program to help job seekers, in a very competitive environment, gain an advantage in securing the job they desire. Attendees learn the ins and outs of the job searching process while receiving personal feedback on resumes, cover letters and interview skills that can make the difference in their job search.
Skills for Success: The Fontana Series is presented by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Rachel Masilamani and Georgiana Deming serve as instructors. They have over 10 years experience assisting library visitors with job hunting, online applications and resume writing. I have heard from individuals that attended past workshops and used the information presented to them to secure new jobs. If you are in the market for a new job, know someone that is looking for work, or simply want to gain a better understanding of what employers are seeking from potential employees you should consider attending.
You can register online at www.clpgh.org or by calling 412-281-7141, ext. 2012. Computer access, refreshments and materials are provided. The four remaining workshops are listed below:
Friday, March 30, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
CLP – Mt. Washington
315 Grandview Avenue
Interviewing & Networking Workshop, 1 – 3 p.m.
Career Lab, 3 – 5 p.m.
Tuesday, April 3, noon – 4 p.m.
CLP – Knoxville
400 Brownsville Road
Interviewing & Networking Workshop, noon – 2 p.m.
Career Lab, 2 – 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
CLP – West End
47 Wabash Avenue
Resume & Cover Letter Workshop, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Career Lab, 2 – 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 7, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
CLP – Brookline
708 Brookline Boulevard
Resume & Cover Letter Workshop, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Career Lab, 1 – 3 p.m.
Brentwood Park Update
Last week I attended the Brentwood Borough Council meeting and received an update on the Brentwood Park Initiative. I was proud to secure significant state funding for this project and am pleased to see the progress this project is making. Due to tireless efforts of Council and members of the Brentwood Park Initiative construction on Phase I of the project is ready to begin and a groundbreaking will take place this fall. Phase I includes the building of basketball courts, softball and baseball fields, tennis court, deck hockey rink and the inclusion of a walkway.
Prior to the meeting I was also afforded the chance to visit with the public works supervisor and see the recently purchased bucket truck. I was happy to work with the Council and Brentwood Business Owners Association to secure state funding for the truck in 2007. The truck has quickly become a tremendous asset for the public works department and is used for tree trimming, lighting repairs and painting.
Thanks to the Council and Brentwood Park Initiative for the invitation and for the kinds words of acknowledgment at the meeting!
The Pennsylvania Department of Treasury is in possession of over $104 million of unclaimed property from Allegheny County residents. It is estimated that roughly one out of every 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Examples of unclaimed property include: closed bank accounts; uncashed checks, including paychecks; lost stocks and bonds; contents of safe deposit boxes; proceeds from the demutualization of insurance companies; and expired gift cards and gift certificates. Please visit www.patreasury.gov to search the Unclaimed Property database, which contains $1.8 billion in unclaimed property. You may also call 1-800-222-2046 to inquire about unclaimed property.
Fish and Bucs
Trout season opens for the entire state of Pennsylvania on April 14th. This year, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has partnered with the Pittsburgh Pirates to offer a special promotion. During the baseball season, anglers with a 2012 fishing license are eligible to purchase discounted outfield box tickets for any home Pirate game with the exception of Opening Day and Saturday games. Along with a discounted ticket, anglers will receive a free, limited-edition Pirates ball cap. This offer is good for advance ticket purchases only. Fans can complete an order form on the Fish & Boat Commission website and mail it to the Pirates ticket office, attention Elliott Crichfield, 115 Federal Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or fax it to 412-325-4410. Click here to download an order form.
Did You Know…
Did you know Pennsylvania has over 85,000 miles of streams and rivers, 4,000 inland lakes and ponds covering 160,000 acres, and 470,000 acres of Lake Erie available for fishing?
The Allegheny County Police Department is holding Camp Cadet this summer for boys and girls, ages 12 through 14. Camp Cadet will take place from July 22nd through July 28th at Camp Guyasuta in O’Hara Township. It is free and open to youth who live in Allegheny County. Applications are being accepted through April 15th. Officers will teach boys and girls about law enforcement activities while they live in an environment similar to a real police academy. Some of the activities include physical training, mock crime scene investigations, mock criminal trials, and demonstrations by the SWAT/SERT units and bomb squad. Visit the Allegheny County Camp Cadet website to learn more about the camp and to download an application form.
Ohio Valley Hospital & Kennedy Township 5K
Ohio Valley General Hospital and Kennedy Township are hosting the 31st Annual 5K Community Run/Walk on May 19th. The event begins at 8 a.m. at the main entrance of Ohio Valley General Hospital on Heckel Road. The 3.1 mile course begins and ends at the hospital after passing through the heart of Kennedy Township. If you are interested in registering for the race, applications are available at the hospital’s information desk and the Kennedy Township Municipal Building. You may also register online at www.active.com. For more information on the 5K Run/Walk please call 412-777-6313.
Andrew Carnegie Civil War Weekend
The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie is hosting the 6th Annual Civil War Weekend on April 28th. Attendees can tour the restored Thomas Espy GAR Post 153, visit vendor exhibits, participate in a Civil War era tea, view military drills and watch a re-enactment of battles at Carnegie Park. The event will also feature a Civil War period fashion show, history book sale and much more. For more information please contact the Library Director Diane Klinefelter at 412-276-3456, ext. 5 or visit www.carnegiecarnegie.org.
High School Sports Update
Congratulations to the Seton-La Salle Girls’ basketball team who capped off a perfect 30-0 season by winning the PIAA Class AA State Championship on March 23rd. Seton-La Salle defeated York Catholic 71-47 in the championship game played at the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University. This is the second time the Seton-La Salle Girls’ basketball team has won the state championship. Their first title came in 1984. Congratulations to all the girls for a terrific and memorable season!
The Montour Boys’ basketball team put up a noble effort in the PIAA Class AAA State championship game, losing 48-45 to Neumann-Goretti. This is the second straight season Montour has advanced to the PIAA championship game. Montour finished the season with a record of 24-5. Congratulations to the Spartans on a great season!
Hines Ward, a two-time Super Bowl Champion and Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XL retired as a Pittsburgh Steeler on March 20th after a distinguished 14-year career. Hines is the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver in both receptions (1,000) and receiving yards (12,083) and finished his career with 29 100-yard receiving games, also tops in Steeler history.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana