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Senator Wayne D. Fontana
Senator Fontana was proud to offer remarks at the annual Memorial Service at the Monument Parklet in Beechview on Saturday, May 23rd. Senator Fontana was proud to offer remarks at the annual Memorial Service at the Monument Parklet in Beechview on Saturday, May 23rd.
Senator Fontana was proud to offer remarks at the annual Memorial Service at the Monument Parklet in Beechview on Saturday, May 23rd.

Education Funding and the 42nd Senatorial District

As budget negotiations start to get underway, I want to highlight what Governor Wolf’s education proposal would look like for the 42nd Senatorial District if it were enacted in its entirety.  As I have mentioned in prior News & Views editions, the governor’s plan includes a $3.8 billion school property tax reduction resulting in the average homeowner’s property taxes being cut in half for about 311 school districts out of the state’s 500 districts.  In addition, a median homeowner in 163 educationdistricts would see their school property tax reduced by at least $1,000, counting current gaming revenue and Governor Wolf's proposed new cuts. Overall, the proposal gives a larger share of state funding to communities with high poverty and high tax rates to even out the playing field. 

With that being said, nearly 30 percent of senior households — 270,000 in total — would have their school property taxes eliminated altogether under the governor’s plan.  In addition, renters who have a household income of $50,000 or less would receive a rent rebate capped at $500. 

Here is a breakdown for the 42nd Senatorial District:

Allegheny County
42nd Senatorial District

School District

2015-16 Proposed School Funding Increase

Estimated Proposed Property Tax Reduction for Median Homeowner


$135,208 (4.26%)

$663 (19.1%)


$744,915 (6.19%)

$797 (40.0%)

Bethel Park

$349,120 (3.06%)

$954 (28.8%)


$316,052 (6.32%)

$938 (47.8%)

Chartiers Valley

$385,584 (6.12%)

$625 (30.4%)


$203,471 (9.47%)

$862 (56.3%)

Fox Chapel Area

$260,611 (4.62%)

$974 (25.5%)

Keystone Oaks

$396,328 (6.35%)

$738 (34.9%)


$354,470 (6.41%)

$632 (27.2%)


$324,934 (6.71%)

$1,262 (56.4%)


$14,895,172 (8.06%)

$555 (68.8%)

Shaler Area

$882,371 (6.07%)

$878 (33.2%)


$1,031,259 (10.48%)

$1,047 (93.0%)

Under the previous administration, more than 23,000 educators lost their jobs, 75 percent of school districts were forced to cut academic programs, 70 percent of school districts’ class sizes increased while test scores decreased.  Governor Wolf’s plan would undo the damage done by the previous administration and invest over $1 billion in public education while also bringing some much needed property tax relief to families across the state. 

Did You Know…

Did you know that Pennsylvania currently ranks 45th in the nation in terms of the percentage of state funding dedicated to public education?

Northside Developments

As a member of the Board of Directors for the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, I was proud to support funding recently for two terrific projects on the Northside as recommended by Allegheny County Economic Development. 

The first is the Northside Partnership Project which involves the rehabilitation of the former McNaugher School into a place for youth services and adult competency skills training.  The transformation of the abandoned building into a Community Social Service Mall will be of great benefit to many Northside residents of all ages.

The second will assist the Mattress Factory with their “Expand the Skyline” project.  This project is a work of public art that is collaboration between the Mattress Factory and the residents of the Northside with support from the Buhl Foundation and the City of Pittsburgh.  “Acupuncture” will be installed on the top of the museum’s six story building and will appear as long lines of white light piercing the roof and walls of the building that will change dramatically depending on the angle from which they are viewed.

Both of these projects will benefit the Northside in unique ways.  There are many more exciting projects ongoing and others that are in the planning stages.  I look forward to continuing working with community groups and residents so that more of these projects can come to fruition in the near future.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline

Tax formI want to remind everyone that the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is accepting applications for the 2014 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program through June 30th.  If you filed a paper rebate form last year, you should have received a 2014 application by now.  If you have not received an application, or did not apply last year and wish to apply this year, applications can be obtained from any of my district offices and my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities age 18 and over.  Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate.  Keep in mind that half of Social Security income is excluded.

Due to program changes enacted last year to ensure claimants aren’t disqualified from rebates solely because of Social Security cost-of-living-adjustments, homeowners and renters may be eligible for rebates even if their eligibility income is greater than these limits.  Any homeowner who collected Social Security, received a property tax rebate in 2013 for claim year 2012 and had annual income last year, discounting half of Social Security, up to $36,129, is encouraged to apply for a rebate for claim year 2014.  Any renter in that same situation with an annual income in 2014, discounting half of Social Security, up to $15,484, is also encouraged to apply.

Table Games Revenue Increases

table gamesRecently, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced that revenue from table games play in April was over $64.6 million.  That figure represents over a four percent increase compared with table games revenue from April of 2014.  Over $9 million in tax revenue was produced from table games play in April.  Combined with slot machines, total gaming revenue in April was over $270 million, more than four percent higher compared with last April.

Table games are taxed at 14 percent with revenue directed into the state’s General Fund (12 percent) and to local governments (2 percent).  Slot machines are taxed at 55 percent in Pennsylvania and directed as follows:  34 percent for property tax reduction; 12 percent supporting the horse racing industry; five percent is placed in a state economic development fund; and two percent goes to local governments that host casinos.PGCB PGCB

The state’s gaming industry employs over 17,700 people and generates an average of $3.7 million per day in tax revenue from table games and slot machines.  For more information on gaming in Pennsylvania and to read reports from the Gaming Control Board, please visit them online at

Tobacco Cessation Programs

Today researchers are finding that less and less of the population is smoking in comparison to previous years.  Even though there is a significant decrease in smokers, those trying to break their nicotine addiction are still struggling with the battle.  The good news is that tobacco cessation programs are free under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  However, a recent American Lung Association report indicated that there are still some insurers who are not complying with the tobacco cessation coverage mandate.

smokingAlthough the American Lung Association report showed that Pennsylvania insurers are doing a better job than most other states in covering the cost of tobacco cessation treatments, most health insurers still refused to provide coverage for the full range of programs that should be provided under preventive care.  It has also been noted that most Pennsylvania insurance plans have not been covering all seven FDA approved tobacco cessation medications.

Right now, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death.  It is estimated that twenty-one percent of adults in Pennsylvania, about 2.1 million people, continue to smoke.  Through advancements in treatments we now know that a combination of counseling and medication is the most effective treatment.  Yet many Insurers deny providing full coverage of this treatment for their customers.

As of today Pennsylvania has resources available in all 67 counties to help residents quit smoking. Approximately 472,000 Pennsylvanians have insurance through the Affordable Care Act that covers this program.  The ACA guidance for insurers includes providing a benefit to cover screening for tobacco use. Eight Regional Primary Contractors are responsible for offering evidence-based training to clinicians and healthcare systems to implement an effective screening intervention with every patient to identify and document their current tobacco use status.

The ACA guidance for insurers includes covering two quit attempts per year consisting of counseling and coverage for all FDA approved medications. Information on individual, group, and telephone cessation counseling programs throughout the state of Pennsylvania is available at or by calling 1-877-724-3258.

For more information on insurance programs and protections go to or call 877-881-6388.

Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

farmers marketQualifying seniors in Allegheny County will soon be able to pick up vouchers for locally grown fruits and vegetables.  The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is a federal program that is administered at the state level by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.  This program attempts to provide seniors who are nutritionally at risk a means to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from approved Pennsylvania farmers.

The program provides recipients with four $5 voucher checks for a total year benefit of $20 to redeem at qualified farmers’ markets.  Checks may be spent through November 30th on produce that is grown in Pennsylvania or purchased directly from a Pennsylvania farmer.

Some examples of produce that may be purchased with the vouchers are apples, beans, berries, carrots, grapes, melons, spinach and tomatoes.  Customers must spend the entire $5 check and change will not be given.

The distribution of voucher checks will take place on Tuesday, June 16th at senior centers throughout Allegheny County.  Checks are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.  Seniors are asked to bring identification showing proof of age and residency to the distribution site.

To be eligible, individuals must be an Allegheny County resident age 60 or older.  The income limit for a one-person household is $21,775 and is $29,471 for a two-person household.  Married couples may each receive one set of checks.  If an eligible consumer requires a proxy to receive their checks, the proxy is responsible for signing for and spending the checks for the individual.  All individuals must completely fill out a proxy form in order to have a proxy receive checks for them. 

For a complete listing of voucher check distribution locations and times, or to download a proxy form, please visit Allegheny County Department of Human Services website at  A listing of distribution sites, farmers’ market locations and proxy forms can also be picked up in my district offices.  Anyone with questions on the program can also call the Allegheny County SeniorLine at 412-350-5460.

Stroll the Strip!

Neighbors in the Strip Neighbors in the Strip Neighbors in the Strip Neighbors in the Strip Neighbors in the Strip is hosting their 4th annual Stroll the Strip on Thursday, June 18th.  The annual event provides residents and visitors the opportunity to “Savor the Neighborhood” by visiting over a dozen host locations to see what exciting venues have to offer in the Strip.  The event, which is an annual fundraiser for Neighbors in the Strip, is scheduled from 5 – 8 p.m.  More information on the event, host locations, after party, and ticket and sponsorship information can be found at


Fontana Fact

DoughboyAfter World War I, the citizens of Lawrenceville, a neighborhood in the East End of Pittsburgh, wanted a monument to honor the soldiers from their community. To fulfill this dream, the community hired sculptor Allen Newman from New York to create a bronze statue of a Doughboy from the war. The Doughboy symbolizes the footmen that were in the heat of battle. The bronze figure is outfitted with a helmet, armed with a rifle, and carrying ammunition. An honor roll of Lawrenceville soldiers wraps around the base of the monument.

The plaque below the soldier reads:
In memory and honor of those who made the supreme sacrifice
and of the service men of the World War 1917 – 1918
Erected by the people of the 5th Zone 6th Ward

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

  Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
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
Fax: 412-331-2079
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
  Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418
Tuesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Strip District (Mobile Office)
Pittsburgh Public Market
2401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Thursdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library
Allegheny Branch
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm