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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

State Budget

capitolAs I’m sure you know by now, the 2015-2016 budget has been made final as of this past Sunday. While I still think we owe all Pennsylvanians a better plan, I am happy that Governor Wolf has decided to end the impasse so that schools may receive continued funding and layoffs can be averted and we can finally look to the next fiscal year plan. I am frustrated though, as most of you are, by the nine month process it took to get here.

Although he was elected by a landslide with a mandate by voters to implement a Marcellus Shale severance tax, I believe the Governor underestimated the resolve of so many of the members of the General Assembly in refusing to take heed to what the voters wanted and refused to vote for new sustaining revenues to get the Commonwealth’s fiscal house back in order. When the much preferred option of the severance tax was removed from the negotiating table, the Governor then had hoped for and took too long to concede that other broad-based taxes were also not going to happen.

The past is past now. We must now look forward to the next fiscal year beginning on July 1. We must learn from this past year’s adversities and not repeat the same mistakes going forward. This goes for both sides of the aisle. Both chambers of the General Assembly. And both the Legislative and Executive branches of government. Communication and compromise are the most important components of any future negotiations.

I still firmly believe that the Governor is right in his goal to increase education funding and to balance a nearly $2 billion structural budget deficit because this current budget does not do enough and leads us into a more precarious position going into the 2016-2017 fiscal year. If the state does not step up to its responsibility of funding public education, increases in local school property taxes will just keep rising and vital human service programs for our most vulnerable citizens will be continued to be cut in the coming years.

We must keep working to accomplish those goals. And we must do so with the resolve to start discussing the best course of action for the coming year now without any delay. It is our constitutional duty to enact a responsible, balanced spending plan by June 30. To that end, there are several pieces of legislation that have been introduced to encourage an “on time” budget, including many that have penalties if not done. I myself have introduced Senate Bill 1169 (SB 1169), which lays out a protocol if the General Assembly fails to pass a budget by the constitutional deadline of June 30.
For months following the first gubernatorial veto last July, I continuously called for negotiators from all four legislative caucuses and the Governor’s office to meet all day, every day until an agreed to deal was reached which is exactly what my legislation will do.  Under my bill, designated negotiating teams from all five parties will be required to meet for at least 10 hours a day if a complete budget agreement has not been reached and in place as of July 5 of each year.  This schedule will continue for the selected leaders and their teams until a complete spending plan has been accomplished. Clearly we need a better mechanism that places more urgency on the matter so that the state is not left in disarray and residents' livelihoods aren’t at stake once again.   

Lawrenceville Mobile Office – OPENS THIS WEEK!

I want to remind everyone my mobile office in Lawrenceville will open this Thursday.  The mobile office will be open each Thursday at the Carnegie Library - Lawrenceville, located at 279 Fisk Street, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  This office will replace the Strip District mobile office at the Pittsburgh Public Market.

Below is an updated schedule for all of my district offices including satellite and mobile offices.


Brookline District Office
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 District Office
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
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15212
Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Lawrenceville Mobile Office (BEGINNING MARCH 31)
Carnegie Library
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15201
Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Free File Taxes

taxesTaxpayers earning less than $62,000 can file their federal taxes electronically using free tax preparation and e-filing services available through the IRS Free File program.  Powered by the Free File Alliance, a coalition of 13 industry-leading tax software companies partnered with the IRS, the Free File program provides free access to the industry’s most innovative and secure tax software.

Every taxpayer with a 2015 Adjusted Gross Income of $62,000 or less can visit to prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost.  Free state return options are also available. Free File also provides basic online e-filing services, called Free File Fillable Forms, to all taxpayers regardless of income. 

To get started please visit or for more information about the Free File Alliance, please visit

Did You Know…

Did you know more than 46 million tax returns have been filed through the Free File program since it began in 2003?

Absentee Ballot Deadline

Vote PA Voter Registration The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the April 26 Primary Election is Tuesday, April 19.  All completed ballot applications must be received by the Allegheny County Division of Elections Office no later than 5 p.m.  The Elections Office is located in the County Office Building at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh:

            542 Forbes Avenue, Room 601
            Pittsburgh, PA  15219

You may apply for an absentee ballot in person at the above address.  You may also visit any of my district offices to receive an absentee ballot application or you can go to the Resource Center page at to download one.

If you have any questions or need any additional information, please call the Allegheny County Division of Elections Office at 412-350-4520.

Senior Community Center Grants

AgingThe Pennsylvania Department of Aging announced last week a grant funding opportunity for Pennsylvania’s Senior Community Centers that includes $2 million to be awarded from 2015-16 fiscal year funds.  The grants provide funding for Pennsylvania Senior Community Centers to increase participation, provide innovative programs, attract a new generation of older adults, and provide a safe and healthy environment for participants.  Minimum awards are $5,000 and maximum awards are $150,000.

The grant application period runs through April 19 at 5 p.m.  Application submission instructions, required documents, and other resources can be accessed by clicking here or by visiting  Questions about the grant program and application process can be directed to Suzanne Bellotti, the Program Coordinator at 717-772-1221 or

mapCity Street Paving Program

Last week the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works released its 2016 street paving list along with an interactive map.  The interactive map, which can be viewed by clicking here, provides details to the city’s paving plan so residents can see exactly what street segments will be paved.  The city’s paving plan will undergo minor revisions throughout the summer and fall as needs change and the website will be updated with revisions as they arise.

For more information on the city’s Street Paving Program please visit or click here.

McKees Rocks Community Flea Market

For nine consecutive Sundays beginning April 3, the McKees Rocks Community Flea Market will be held in the Municipal Lot on Furnace Street in McKees Rocks.  The Flea Market will run April 3, 10, 17, and 24 and May 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 8 a.m. 3 p.m.

For more information including information on vendor tables please email

Fontana Fact

In 2015, Friends of the Riverfront and their volunteers collected 7.5 tons of trash along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.  The 24-mile nonlinear trail has segments on both banks of Pittsburgh’s three rivers with access to city neighborhoods, business districts and other local attractions. 

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
Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library
Allegheny Branch
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Lawrenceville (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Thursdays - 11 am - 4 pm