In this Update:
Budget Hearing Q&A: Week of March 20, 2023
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week began the first of three weeks of public hearings on the proposed 2023-24 state budget. This week, I spoke with the following state departments, Revenue, Independent Fiscal Office, DCNR, Treasury, DEP, Office of the Auditor General, and Office of the Attorney General. Topics of discussion included the PA Lottery Funds, RGGI Tax, Natural Gas Development on state lands, Divesting from Russia, Overtaxing, Ghost Guns and more.
For more information about the budget, hearing schedule and more click here.
Greater Montgomery County Chamber Event
This week, I attended the Greater Montgomery County Chamber “Meet Your Legislative Representatives” event. This event gave the business community an opportunity to meet us as legislators to hear what our agenda is this session and our areas of interest. The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Montgomery County has over 700 members from sole proprietors to large corporations within the 24th district and its surrounding areas.
Please join me for my first Tele-Town Hall on Tuesday, March 28 at 6:00pm.
This is a great opportunity to get to know me, get up to date information on state-related issues and more importantly, an opportunity to hear your viewpoints on public issues from the comfort of your own home.
REGISTER NOW: https://senatorpennycuick.com/access-live/
I look forward to connecting with you!
March for Meals
Last week, I took part in March for Meals. I assisted Family Services of Montgomery County in delivering Meals on Wheels to our seniors in Pottstown. Each March, Meals on Wheels celebrates the historic day in 1972 when a National Nutrition Program for seniors was added to the Older Americans Act. This legislation supported the rapid growth of the Meals on Wheels network that now collectively serves 2.8 million seniors each year! In the Pottstown area alone, 115 meals are delivered each day five times a week to seniors 60 and older who are at significant risk of malnutrition.
Free In-Person Tax Preparation Service
Senate Reviews Proposed State Budget
The Senate Appropriations Committee held the first of three weeks of public hearings about the proposed 2023-24 state budget.
Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed a $45.8 billion budget that would increase spending by $1.3 billion. Based on projections, it would nearly wipe out the state’s $5 billion Rainy Day Fund in five years.
State Treasurer Stacy Garrity urged lawmakers to make greater investments in Pennsylvania’s Rainy Day Fund and reduce the structural deficit to improve the state’s credit rating. She testified that the commonwealth has a choice: spend modestly now or face a possible fiscal cliff as federal funds dry up and the Rainy Day Fund is depleted.
Independent Fiscal Office Director Matthew Knittel confirmed that Pennsylvania joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative would mean hundreds of millions of dollars in new energy taxes. Higher electricity costs could be on the horizon if Shapiro advances a carbon tax.
Find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.
Check the Status of Your Tax Refund
As families struggle with rising costs and inflation, many are anticipating their tax refund. Anyone who would like to check the status of a Pennsylvania Income Tax refund can do so by calling 1-888-PATAXES or clicking here. There is also an opportunity to verify your tax refund to expedite processing.
Improving Access to Unemployment Compensation System
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry extended indefinitely a program that enhances Pennsylvanians’ access to the Unemployment Compensation (UC) system by offering in-person appointments to claimants.
The program, now called UC Connect, offers in-person services for UC claimants who do not have proper technology, equipment or technical skills; individuals without access to home Internet or broadband; and individuals with limited-English proficiency.
To schedule an appointment, claimants should contact a PA CareerLink® center directly.
Share Your Feedback on PennDOT’s Winter Services
PennDOT is accepting winter services feedback through an online survey. The public can take the survey here through April 6.
The 17-question survey asks how often respondents travel during poor weather, how they rate PennDOT’s winter service and how they rank snow-removal priorities. Respondents are also asked how they receive PennDOT roadway information and whether they use the state’s 511PA traveler information services.
During the winter, https://511pa.com offers its standard traffic and incident information while adding PennDOT plow-truck locations, winter roadway conditions and other services.
Veterans: Protect Your Pension
Veterans and their beneficiaries who are potentially eligible for VA pension benefits must beware of pension poaching. While pension poaching can impact any veteran, poachers primarily target older veterans. Pension poaching comes in several forms, from selling financial products of questionable value to charging a fee to restructure assets to make the veteran or beneficiary meet income eligibility criteria. Read about other pension poaching methods here.
Avoid becoming a victim of pension poaching by never paying:
If you suspect or experience a scam or financial exploitation related to any veteran benefit, including a VA pension, file a report immediately with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Military and Veterans Affairs section by calling 717-783-1944, emailing PAvets@attorneygeneral.gov or filling out this online form.
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