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The Latest News from Your State Representative
Please do not reply to this e-mail, as I am unable to respond to messages sent to this address. You can contact me directly at vgaydos@pahousegop.com or here.
Helping Pennsylvanians thrive within our Commonwealth is a top priority. Ensuring that Pennsylvanian’s want to stay in Pennsylvania is also a top priority. The elimination of the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, otherwise known as the “death tax,” will ensure that inheritance goes to the family or heir it was meant to go to, but it will also send a message to our citizens that we want you to be successful in Pennsylvania and remain a resident of our Commonwealth.

That is why Reps. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) Tim Twardzik (R-Schuylkill) and I have introduced House Bill 1148, legislation that would eliminate the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax.

Presently, the Pennsylvania inheritance tax is imposed as a percentage of the value of a decedent’s estate transferred to beneficiaries by will, heirs by intestacy and transferees by operation of law. The tax rate depends on the relationship of the heir to the decedent and ranges from 0% to 15%. Pennsylvania has no general exclusion amount. Thus, the first dollar of the taxable estate (gross estate less allowable deductions) is subject to tax.

The rates for Pennsylvania inheritance tax are as follows:
  •   0% on transfers to a surviving spouse or to a parent from a child 21 years old or younger.
  •   4.5% on transfers to direct descendants and lineal heirs.
  •   12% on transfers to siblings.
  •   15% percent on transfers to other heirs, except charitable organizations, exempt institutions and government entities exempt from tax.

Estate taxes are paid by the estate and based on the estate’s overall value, while inheritance taxes are paid by an individual heir on whatever property they inherit. The inheritance tax disincentivizes business investment in Pennsylvania and can drive high-net-worth individuals out of state. Let’s make sure that those who are successful in Pennsylvania stay in Pennsylvania!

House Bill 1148 has been referred to the House Finance Committee for consideration.

Valerie Gaydos
Important Information About May 18 Ballot Questions


In just over a month, voters will head to the polls for the May 18 primary election. There will be more than just candidates on the ballot, as four questions – three constitutional amendments and one referendum – are slated to appear as well.

Please take a moment to learn more about these questions and make sure your voice is heard.

Questions 1 and 2: Emergency Disaster Declarations
The first two questions propose amendments to the state Constitution that would alter the way state leaders handle future disaster emergency declarations. I voted to put these questions on the ballot because I believe they will restore the foundational system of checks and balances that has been missing over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure you, the people, have a voice in how we deal with similar situations in the future.

Question 1 asks if the General Assembly, by majority vote, should be authorized to end a disaster emergency declaration without a governor’s approval.

Question 2 asks if a disaster emergency declaration should be limited to 21 days, unless a majority in the General Assembly votes to extend it.

Question 3: Protecting Rights
This question addresses the Declaration of Rights section in the state Constitution and asks voters if it should be amended to specifically prohibit the denial or limitation of a person’s rights based on race or ethnicity.

This proposed amendment would signify that freedom from discrimination based on race or ethnicity is an essential principle of liberty and free government. It would apply to all state, county and local governmental entities in the Commonwealth, and would guarantee equality of rights under the law.

Question 4: First Responder Funding
This question does not seek to amend the Constitution but instead asks voters to weigh in on whether an existing loan program – approved in a previous statewide referendum – can be expanded to include municipal fire departments and ambulance companies that are staffed with paid personnel rather than volunteers. Since its inception in 1976, the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program (VLAP) has provided more than $519 million in low-interest loans for the Commonwealth’s volunteer emergency services community.

The referendum was included in a bill I supported to strengthen fire and emergency medical services in Pennsylvania that was signed into law last year. Act 91 of 2020 also made other improvements to grant and loan programs, and designated funding to support recruitment and retention of personnel. 

To read the full text of the questions as they will appear on the ballot, click here.

To learn more about the referendum questions, click here to watch this short video.
Election Review Hearings Wrap Up

The House State Government Committee concluded its months-long, deep dive into Pennsylvania’s election process with its last hearing on Thursday to receive testimony from stakeholders and members of the House of Representatives.

Included on the bipartisan list of testifiers at the most recent hearing were David Thornburgh, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy; Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute; J. Christian Adams, president and general counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation; and Col. Anthony Shaffer, president of the London Center for Policy Research.

Throughout the 10 hearings, which began in January, committee members heard about various topics, from the need to improve security at all levels of elections to improving how elections are operated. The Pennsylvania Constitution dictates elections be uniform across the Commonwealth and we must ensure they not only are uniform, but also operate with integrity and are accessible to all legal voters.
In the coming weeks, the committee will work diligently to create a bill to reform Pennsylvania’s outdated 1937 election law so that it is easy to vote, but hard to cheat.
Congratulations, and Good Luck!

I had the pleasure of presenting a House of Representatives citation to Findlay Township Police Chief Jesse Lesko who is retiring after 35 years as a police officer, 34 years with Findlay Township. His plans for retirement include spending more time with his family, travel, golf and other hobbies. You served us well for so many years Chief Lesko. Best of luck in the future.

In addition, it was my honor to present a House of Representatives citation to Charlie Kulbacki who is retiring after 43 years of service to Bell Acres Borough in Sewickley. Charlie and his wife Janine recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. It was under Charlie's leadership that Bell Acres Borough has grown into a desirable residential community that is proud of its many natural and conservation areas. Best of luck Charlie!

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

In case you missed it on Monday, the state Department of Health (DOH) announced all Pennsylvanians ages 16 and over would be eligible to schedule appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine effective Tuesday, April 13.

On Tuesday morning, DOH announced it was following guidance from the Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and putting a temporary halt to the administration of any single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The vaccine was placed on pause after reports of a rare blood clot condition in some recipients of the vaccine.

For more information about COVID-19 and the vaccine, click here.
Federal REAL ID Enforcement Begins Oct. 1

After a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal enforcement of REAL ID is set to begin Oct. 1. That means Pennsylvanians looking to fly domestically or enter certain federal facilities will be required to present a REAL ID-compliant form of identification to do so.

REAL ID is not mandatory in Pennsylvania. PennDOT will offer the option to obtain a REAL ID or traditional driver’s license or photo ID. If you choose the traditional license/ID, you may want to make sure you have a passport or other form of REAL ID-compliant identification should you need to fly or enter certain federal facilities.

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver's licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes. For more information about REAL ID and documentation required to obtain it in Pennsylvania, visit www.penndot.gov/REALID.  
Grants Available to Performance Venues, Museums, Movie Theaters

I encourage owners of performance venues, museums and movie theaters to apply for the Shutter Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.

These businesses have been some of the most impacted by COVID-19 mitigation orders but have not been eligible for previous relief programs.

The Shutter Venue Operators Grant program was established under the American Rescue Plan, with an allocation of $16.2 billion. Applicants can apply for 45% of their 2019 gross revenues, up to $10 million. If they received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, the SVOG will be reduced by the PPP loan amount.

Those interested in registering for the program can do so through the U.S. Small Business Administration here.
Be Careful on Our Roadways!

Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law requires drivers approaching an emergency response area who are unable to safely merge into a lane further away from the response area to slow to at least 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit. An emergency response area is where an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing, or where road crews or emergency responders have lighted flares, posted signs, or tried to warn travelers.

Show your support! Slow down, move over for emergency responders and save their lives.

Click here to learn more!
Save the Dates!

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body - “Tips from the Latest Research”
June 3, from noon to 1:00 p.m.
A webinar sponsored by Rep. Gaydos, YMCA and Alzheimer’s Association

ID Theft/Shredding Event
June 12, from 9 to 11 a.m.
Moon Middle School Parking Lot, Tiger Trail, Moon Township
Sponsored by Rep. Gaydos and Moon Township
Let's Get Connected

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District Office:
1005 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 106, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
Capitol Office:
Room 428, Irvis Office Building, House Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com