Senator Pittman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Cheese Auction – Indiana County Fair
  • State Budget Implementation Requires Action by the House of Representatives
  • $1.3 Million Awarded for Local Infrastructure Projects
  • PennDOT Assistance Available
  • State Grants Available for Children’s Advocacy Centers
  • Scam Threatens Suspension of Health License
  • Shared Ride Services Available to the Public
  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts for People with Disabilities
  • Remembering the Sept. 11, 2001 Attacks

Cheese Auction – Indiana County Fair

The Cheese Auction recently held at the Indiana County Fair was a wonderful event.

I am always proud to support the 4-H/FFA youth at this annual auction, as they are the future of agriculture and dairy farming.

It’s an honor to carry on the tradition of my good friend, Sen. Don White, who started it all! We look forward to having him back again next year!

Thank you to all of the supporters of the auction, including my colleague state Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-62).

It is great to see the kids have their hard work pay off and to watch them doing such great things within our community!

State Budget Implementation Requires Action by the House of Representatives

A week after the Senate convened for session and passed legislation to take additional steps toward finalizing the new state budget, the House of Representatives has yet to come back to session and vote on budget implementation legislation which can help all communities throughout our commonwealth. Right now the House is not scheduled to come back to Harrisburg for session until Sept. 26.

The general appropriations bill was signed into law last month. However, code language passed by the Senate still needs to be advanced by the House in order to drive out critical funding. While the House is currently split at 101 to 101 with an even number of Republicans and Democrats, we cannot let politics stand in the way of doing the right thing for Pennsylvanians. We welcome our colleagues in the House of Representatives to join us in coming back to session immediately to complete the 2023-24 budget.

$1.3 Million Awarded for Local Infrastructure Projects

Grants totaling more than $1.3 million for transportation improvement projects located in Indiana, Jefferson and Westmoreland counties, were recently approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority through Pennsylvania’s Multimodal Transportation Fund. I am pleased funding to improve infrastructure within our local communities is being awarded to these three worthwhile projects. The investments will help to not only increase transportation efficiency and safety, but also provide a better environment for economic growth and opportunity.

In Indiana County, Burrell Township will receive nearly $800,000 to resurface 7.24 miles of deteriorating roadways , which will stabilize and improve the roads system to allow for the improved mobility of walkers, bikers and vehicles.

In Jefferson County, more than $428,000 in funding will be used by Punxsutawney Borough to demolish the existing cobblestone road, curb and sidewalk on Dinsmore Avenue. The paving and sidewalks will be replaced, compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The City of Arnold in Westmoreland County will receive more than $100,000 to improve the roadway surface of Moore Street to enhance travel for vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles.

The Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to residents. Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development.

PennDOT Assistance Available

My office can help with a variety of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) issues. 

If you have questions or need assistance with a PennDOT issue or any other state-related issue, please feel free to contact any of my district offices and my staff will be happy to assist you:

  • Indiana County District Office – 724-357-0151
  • Armstrong County District Office – 724-543-3026
  • Westmoreland County District Office – 724-216-6165

State Grants Available for Children’s Advocacy Centers

Help is available to children’s advocacy centers (CACs) for their crucial mission coordinating the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency says the funds can be used to help CACs expand, improve or continue the services provided to victims of child sexual abuse and child abuse. Applications and information are listed here under “2023 NCA Member Child Advocacy Centers.”

The Senate Aging and Youth Committee held a hearing last month to gather information about the needs of CACs and the critical roles they play across Pennsylvania.

Scam Threatens Suspension of Health License

Scammers pretending to be from the Pennsylvania Department of State’s health-related licensing boards are calling active and inactive licensees, claiming their licenses are suspended due to allegations of criminal activity. To trick people, the scammers spoof the state board’s phone number and name on caller ID.

Someone who actually represents the state board will not contact you by phone to request a credit card payment, wire transfer or money order. They will never request any payment be made using gift card or that it be wired to a foreign country.

If you receive one of these calls, please hang up and report it to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Shared Ride Services Available to the Public

People who do not drive can get where they need to go using shared ride services. Riders can travel to work, medical providers, grocery stores, shopping centers and more when fixed route services cannot meet their needs.

While shared ride services are open to the public, riders must register in advance to use them. Each shared ride provider has its own fare structure. Various programs allow seniors, persons with disabilities and low-income individuals to access shared ride service at a reduced out-of-pocket cost or even for free.

Find more information and the shared ride service provider near you here.

Tax-Free Savings Accounts for People with Disabilities

Tax-free savings accounts to help people with disabilities save money for disability-related expenses are available through the Pennsylvania Treasury. PA ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts are structured similar to tuition savings accounts.

Family members and friends can contribute up to $17,000 per year; PA ABLE account owners who earn income may contribute additional funds beyond the annual contribution limit. Once the maximum account limit of $511,758 is reached, accounts continue to earn interest.

Withdrawals from the account will be exempt from both state and federal income taxes as long as the funds are used for qualified disability expenses. These include education, housing, transportation, employment support, health prevention and assistive technology. Learn more here.

Remembering the Sept. 11, 2001 Attacks

Monday marks the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on our country, including one that resulted in a plane crash in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It is with a heavy heart that we remember the devastating attacks and wish peace for the families who lost a loved one.

We also recognize the incredible heroes, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as they cared for the innocent victims. Emergency responders and military personnel deserve our deep gratitude.

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