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Elder Vogel Jr.
February 26, 2019
It is always an honor to serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee and this year is no different. My Colleagues and I have the duty to discuss the Governors proposed budget and issues our constituents are facing with each state department. To watch my questions for these departments, please visit my website by clicking here and watch any of my Budget Hearing Q&A videos.
2019-2020 Senate Appropriation Committee Hearings
The 2019-20 state budget process got underway with the governor’s February 5 budget address. Senate hearings on the proposed $34.1 billion spending plan are underway and run through March 7.
You can find video of every hearing, along with a summary of topics discussed, by clicking here.
Upcoming appropriations hearings are as follows:
Save the Date: 10th Annual Kids Extravaganza
I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting my 10th Annual Kids Extravaganza on Saturday, May 18th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community College of Beaver County. Each year, over 1,200 residents attend the Expo, which features numerous exhibitors who provide the community with valuable information from state and county programs as well as non-profit organizations who offer no-cost services.
This event also offers a day of activities, various performances, and refreshments for all who attend. The event is free and open to all residents of the 47th Senatorial District. If you are interested in being a vendor, please contact Jen Nolfi in my Rochester office at 724-774-0444 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Response to Governor’s PA Farm Bill
I had the opportunity to make a statement on the governors proposed PA Farm Bill alongside Senate Majority Leader Corman and Senate President Pro Tempore Scarnati. We are encouraged by Governor Wolf’s willingness to have a discussion about the best ways to support Pennsylvania’s agriculture community, and we thank the governor for his efforts on this front. Many of these proposals could potentially build on the progress we have already made through the creation of a new grant program to support dairy farmers – an initiative led by Senate Republicans during last year’s budget negotiations.
In addition to the plans the governor is proposing, we continue to be supportive of the idea of hosting a dairy summit. The summit would bring together all agencies and stakeholders for a discussion on the future of agriculture. A similar approach in New York has yielded positive reviews, and we believe this summit could serve as a valuable outlet for the entire industry at a minimal cost to taxpayers.
After the governor proposed to cut nearly $4 million in agriculture funding from the state budget last week, the biggest question that remains is how the approximately $24 million in new spending would be funded. As we take a closer look at the governor’s budget and his new plans for supporting farmers, our priority will be working with all parties to determine how we can incorporate some or all of these ideas in a fiscally responsible way. We look forward to a careful review of all of these ideas leading up to our budget hearing with the Department of Agriculture on March 6 and a joint hearing with the Senate and House Agriculture committees on March 20.
School Safety Tools Available to School Districts
As your State Senator I am proud to show the array of new tools that have been made available to identify threats and improve school security.
School safety resources available to school districts include:
Act 44 of 2018 relies on local initiative, provides each school district with the opportunity to assess their unique needs and circumstances, and allows them to pursue safety options that are in the best interests of students.
To ensure that security is a priority in every school district, the state now requires each district to appoint a safety and security coordinator. Schools must also conduct drills of their response to a school shooter and to involve local police in the response plan.
During the Senate Appropriations Committee hearings I was able to discuss the new Farm Bill regarding the width of Agriculture and Farm Equipment on public roads, and the ongoing success of Act 89 with the Secretary of the Department of Transportation Leslie Richards.
Income Tax Refund Military Donation
Pennsylvanians filing their personal income taxes can help military personnel and their families by donating part or all of their refund to a state program that provides grants of up to $3,500 to Pennsylvania members of the armed forces and their families who have a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control. The tax form includes instructions on how to donate.
That money will be donated to the Pennsylvania Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP) provides financial assistance, in the form of grants, to eligible Pennsylvania service members and their eligible family members.
Tax Filing Questions
Answers to tax-filing questions and other Revenue Department questions can be found at the department’s Customer Support page. You can submit questions or search topics by category. The page also includes online forms.
Questions such as:
To ask a new question or view previously asked questions such as the ones above, please click here to go to Department of Revenue’s webpage.
Please contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to receive help in dealing with a state agency.
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