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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

And the Games Continue On

capitolOn March 24, the Senate Majority Leader was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer saying “that reining in the cost of public employee pensions is a priority, and that he and his colleagues will not pass a spending plan if it is not addressed.”  Fast forward to June 22, the House Speaker told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that “Passage of a pension bill and liquor reform are the keys to a balanced budget,” and that he and the Senate President Pro Tempore shared the common goals of changing the public pension system and gaining money from selling state stores to help fund the budget.  I highlight these remarks because it illustrates the hypocrisy of the majority party and continues to display that these Republican leaders are not willing to come to the table and negotiate a fair budget.  Rather the only budget they are interested in passing is their own agenda no matter the costs and sacrifices to the commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents. 

On Wednesday, September 16, Governor Tom Wolf put an offer on the table in an attempt to break the 78-day state budget stalemate that included contracting out the state’s wholesale and retail liquor system to a private manager and reforming the state’s pension system by altering the plan for new hires.  In return, Governor Wolf asked Majority Party leaders to come back with a proposal to restore funding for education, property tax relief and enact a severance tax on the drilling industry. 

Instead, residents of the commonwealth received a Senate floor speech the following day where the Majority Leader stated that pension and liquor are side issues. Which is it?  One minute pension and liquor reform are their topic priority and now that the majority party has received their demands, it is not enough.  And to add salt to the wound, the Republican leaders went ahead with passing their version of a stopgap budget instead of considering what was presented to them as a compromise. 

I am truly disgusted by this wasteful, senseless, dead-in-the-water republican public relations stunt and the citizens of Pennsylvania should be too.  The governor and democrats cannot negotiate with themselves. We are in agreement on what our priorities are and the voters made that clear when they elected Governor Wolf in a landslide. 

Additionally, Republican leaders already knew their political ploy would be rejected and vetoed by the governor, yet they persisted with this legislative fiasco that wasted time and taxpayer money.  They’re fooling no one. This stopgap proposal is nothing more than a piecemeal version of the unbalanced, underfunded and irresponsible spending proposal that Republicans attempted to saddle our state with months ago. A third of something that doesn’t add up – still doesn’t add up.

I will continue to feel that a stopgap budget should not be a substitute for a final budget.  It is merely a means to avoid getting to a real budget resolution and this is exactly what Republican leaders crave.  They want to beat the administration down so far that Governor Wolf is willing to accept anything believing he will give into the pressure.  If the Republican leaders are serious and really care, they would focus on negotiating funding for a FULL year for schools and nonprofit services and not a temporary allotment so that we aren’t in the same place again in a couple of weeks.  

Senate Democrats and our governor are willing to negotiate. But we will not allow Republicans to continue shortchanging our kids. We will not allow the republicans to persist with discarded Corbett-era budgets that were underfunded and left us with annual deficits. We will not stand by and watch our schools, social service organizations and other worthwhile programs and services whither -- especially while our counterparts continue along in their sweetheart arrangement with the gas drilling industry.

A Pennsylvania Budget for Our Independence

Governor Wolf Budget Update - September 16, 2015

Governor Wolf Budget Update

I leave you with this closing thought.  Shortly after Governor Wolf vetoed the Republican budget, the Majority Leader was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:  "If he chooses to veto it, so be it, and I'll be here. I'll be here to work with the governor to try to come up with a plan." Merely three months later, where have Republican leaders been and why do they keep pushing their own political rhetoric instead of coming to the table for real negotiations and compromise? 

Last week, Governor Wolf made statements addressing the state of budget negotiations and was joined by Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa.  To view the video please click here to download.

Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic – THIS FRIDAY!

flu shotI will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Friday, September 25 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 including AARP, the Office of the Consumer Advocate, PA APPRISE Health Insurance Counseling Program, Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Seton Center, Allegheny County Bar Association and Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy, and more.

Reminder – Office Hours & Locations

As we head into fall I want to remind everyone of my district office hours and locations including my satellite and mobile offices.  Below is a listing of my office locations and hours.  If you need assistance on any state matter please feel free to visit any of these locations.

932 Brookline Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA  15226
Phone – 412-344-2551
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Beechview (satellite office)
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15216
Phone – 412-343-2080
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza, 500 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp., PA  15136
Phone – 412-331-1208
Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Northside (mobile office)
Carnegie Library – Allegheny branch
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15212
Wednesdays – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Strip District (mobile office)
Pittsburgh Public Market
2401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15222
Thursdays – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is accepting applications for the 2014 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program through the end of the year.  If you did not receive 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.

Voter Registration Deadline

Vote PA Vote PA Anyone not registered to vote who wishes to vote in the November 3 General Election must register by October 5.  As a reminder, voter registration can now be done online.  Simply visit to get started.  In addition to registering to vote, current registered voters can also use the online system to make updates to their voter record, such as a change of name, address, or party affiliation. 

Anyone wishing to register with a paper application can obtain an application from any of my district offices, or by downloading one at  Completed applications can be returned by mail to the Allegheny County Division of Elections and must be postmarked by October 5 in order to be processed prior to the November 3 General Election.  You can also register by completing an application in person, no later than October 5, at the Division of Elections office.  The location of the Allegheny County Division of Elections office is listed below.  For any questions related to registering to vote, please contact 412-350-4510.

            Attn: Voter Registration Services
            Allegheny County Division of Elections
            542 Forbes Avenue, Room 609
            Pittsburgh, PA  15219-2953

Child Protection Laws – Training Session

The Forbes Funds in conjunction with the United Way and Allies for Children, is hosting a free, public training session for youth-serving organizations on how best to implement the new Child Protective Service Laws.  The event is scheduled for this Thursday, September 24 from 9 – 11 a.m. at the Rodef Shalon Congregation, located at 4905 Fifth Avenue in Oakland.

This session will review the new laws that impact agencies that employ staff and utilize volunteers working directly with youth and will provide attendees an understanding of their responsibilities moving forward.  Panelists, including an expert from the PA Department of Human Services, will review with attending organizations the new policies and procedures they need to have in place, implications of the new laws for staff and volunteers, and additional suggested practices.

For more information or to register for this event, please visit

Financial Aid Workshops for Counselors, Teachers

PHEAA PHEAA I want K-12 teachers and counselors to be aware of upcoming Financial Aid Workshops being hosted by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (PASFAA).  These workshops are offered free of charge and will provide attendees with the latest information on financial aid for post-secondary education.  Attendees will be provided with a workshop handbook, handouts, and materials.

Workshops are being offered at 40 locations throughout Pennsylvania in November, including two currently scheduled in Allegheny County on November 4 and November 13.  To view a list of dates and sites, and to register for a workshop, please click here.  All workshops begin at 9 a.m. and conclude by 12:15 p.m. 

For more information on these workshops or if assistance is needed with the registration process please email

Free Lunar Eclipse SkyWatch

Carnegie Science Center Carnegie Science Center On September 27 a lunar eclipse is set to take place and the Carnegie Science Center is inviting all astronomy fans to watch this astronomical event at a special SkyWatch program.  The program, held this Sunday, from 8:30 – 11:30 p.m. is free to the public.  Guests are invited to watch the lunar eclipse from the Science Center’s back lawn to observe the phenomenon through telescopes.  Buhl Planetarium staff will be on-site to guide guests and talk about the amazing astronomical activity.  The Science Center is located at One Allegheny Avenue along Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

This event will end an extraordinary series of four consecutive eclipses that were visible across North America during the last two years.  A total lunar eclipse occurs during a full Moon when the entire Moon passed through Earth’s dark umbral or inner shadow.  Once the Moon contacts the edge of the umbral shadow, it takes about an hour to become fully immersed in the shadow, at which point totality begins.  An eclipse does not occur every time there is a full Moon because the Moon’s orbit around the Earth doesn’t lie exactly in the ecliptic, the plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun. 

First contact of the umbral shadow during the September 27 eclipse occurs when the Moon is about 23 degrees above the east-southeastern horizon at 9:07 p.m.  Totality begins at 10:11 p.m. and ends at 11:23 p.m. 

The event will take place only under clear skies.  Visitors should call 412-237-3327 the night of the session to confirm.  For more information, please visit

Did You Know…

Did you know that during totality the Moon can take on an array of colors from red to dark brown or bright orange?

RADical Days

Last week was the launch of RADical Days, the annual event sponsored by the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) and its funded assets to thank the public for the sales tax funds that support our region’s parks, libraries, sports and civic facilities, and arts and culture organizations.  RADical Days runs through October 11 and will feature more than 60 of the region’s favorite cultural assets opening their doors or entertaining the public at no charge. 

RAD works Here Assets are not offering free admission every day.  You may visit the RADical Days page at to view a full schedule and listing of participating venues.  Admissions are first-come, first-served and don’t offer rain checks.  Some events may require advance reservations or may have space limitations and parking fees may be charged at venue lots.  RADical Days events are open to all and accessible. 

autumnal equinoxFontana Fact

Tomorrow morning at 4:21 is the beginning of the autumnal equinox, otherwise known as the first day of fall.  Tomorrow is one of two days during the year where the hours of daylight and darkness are equal due to the sun being aligned with the center of the Earth between the north and south of the planet.  

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