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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.
Our taxpayers deserve accountability and transparency. Overcharging, charging interest and paying out money that should not be paid out at all is simply unacceptable.

The Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) unknowingly made improper unemployment compensation payments and then when the error was discovered, it overcharged interest on repayments. And though officials have known about it for five years, the department has yet to make it right with the people who were overcharged.

Sadly, making improper payments is not an isolated occurrence in state government. And that is why I drafted legislation to protect taxpayers and prevent improper payments from occurring in the first place.

My legislation, House Bill 104, would require state agencies to review their programs and expenditures, assess how susceptible they may be to improper payment, and address any risks to ultimately prevent such payments. The Office of the Budget would then be required to maintain this information on a publicly accessible website. The legislation passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

This bill is all about using our tax dollars wisely. It will incentivize our state agencies to comply with federal law more efficiently and to ensure that the state is not in violation of requirements which can result in our state owing the federal government money.

The taxpayers of this Commonwealth deserve a government that respects the value of their hard-earned money and handles it appropriately.

Valerie Gaydos
PIA New Generation Microgrid

The Pittsburgh International Airport officially turned on the gas and solar-powered microgrid, becoming the first major United States Airport powered entirely by the microgrid. Innovation of this kind is welcome, though no project of this size and degree of advancement is without some growing pains.

Rep. Gaydos is proud to be a part of this spectacular energy diversity project. A nearly 10,000- panel solar installation will provide three megawatts of power (with natural gas providing 20 megawatts.)

The airport owns the land on which the microgrid sits; however, Peoples Gas will own and operate the facility. There was no upfront cost to the airport to engage in this 20-year contract to buy their electricity from Peoples Gas.
UC Work Search Requirements Resume

Effective July 11, the Department of Labor and Industry has resumed work search requirements for those Pennsylvanians receiving Unemployment Compensation (UC), as well as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

As pandemic restrictions eased and local employers began fully reopening earlier this year, we urged the administration to reinstate these commonsense requirements. In fact, we were prepared to pass legislation to force the department to act. The return of work search requirements should result in getting more Pennsylvanians back in the workforce.

To meet the requirement, a person filing for unemployment benefits will be required to apply for two jobs and complete one work search activity each week. Work search activities include things like attending a job fair, using an employment agency or registry, or searching positions posted in the PA CareerLink system. For more information and a full list of work search activities, click here.
UC System Dysfunction Continues

Rep. Gaydos’ office continues to hear from many of you who are experiencing problems with the new and “improved” unemployment compensation (UC) system that launched last month. We are doing our best to help but run into many of the same frustrations you do when dealing with the Department of Labor and Industry. Regardless, please continue contacting us so we can keep track of the issues and help where we can.

On top of these ongoing problems, it was revealed last week the department was substantially overcharging interest on “fault overpayments” it made to claimants who then had to pay money back to the agency. This error went on for a decade, from 2006-2016, and five years later has not been rectified.

According to the agency, approximately 250,000 individuals with fault overpayments were affected by the interest overcharge, which will require approximately $14 million in refunds.

Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve better. We need an unemployment system that can efficiently and effectively provide people with the benefits they need and deserve, and an agency that can follow the law and promptly correct any errors it makes.
How to Report Unemployment Benefits Fraud

Rep. Gaydos’ office in Moon Township has been receiving inquiries from residents who may have been scammed out of their unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. Here are some tips on how to report unemployment benefit fraud.

  •   To report someone who has filed for UC benefits using your personal information such as your name, Social Security Number and date of birth without your knowledge or consent, please visit the UC Benefits Website at www.benefits.uc.pa.gov and click “Report Fraud” at the bottom of the page to complete and submit the identity theft form. Do not log in.
  •   To report identity fraud related to federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), visit www.dlisecureweb.pa.gov/FRTS/IdentityTheft.aspx.

The most recent scams include telling individuals they have won a contest or cash prize, or are eligible for a monetary award for applying for benefits. Another scam offers a faster alternative or mobile app to apply for benefits.

Employers can report UC program fraud at www.uc.pa.gov/pages/Report-Fraud-Here.aspx or by calling call the UC Fraud Hotline at 800-692-7469. It is important that employers respond to these notices promptly.

The state Department of Labor and Industry’s security vendor, ID.me, recently estimated that half of the pandemic’s unemployment benefits (up to $400 billion) may have been stolen by scammers working for criminal syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere.

Learn more about reporting UC fraud at www.uc.pa.gov.
PA Budget Matters to You! Investing in Our Children’s Education

In late June, the General Assembly passed and the governor signed the 2021-22 state budget into law. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll share more details about the plan and how it meets today’s needs while also planning for the future.

Few things are more important than investing in our children, the future leaders of our Commonwealth. This year’s budget continues our commitment to education with a record investment of $13.55 billion in preK-12 education, including increases for basic education, special education and early childhood education.

To support children who suffered educational losses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget allocates $350 million in federal relief funds for learning loss, summer enrichment and after school programs.

The budget also supports the importance of educational choice by increasing funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit to $225 million, an additional $40 million or 22% increase. An additional $44 million in federal relief funds is directed to career and technical education to help prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Learn more about the budget here.
New Law to Expand 5G Technology in PA

Continuing efforts to ensure more Pennsylvanians have access to better communications services, the General Assembly has passed a new law to help facilitate expansion of 5G technology in the Commonwealth.

Act 50 of 2021, , known as the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, provides protections to local governments in terms of aesthetics and limits on the number of applications that can be filed at a time while also helping provide a path for mobile connectivity buildout. A municipality can deny a permit if it creates a safety hazard for motorists or pedestrians, or it violates provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Local governments can also create aesthetic guidelines for small wireless facilities, so long as they do not effectively prohibit their installation, which parallels federal guidelines.

With the Federal Communications Commission having pledged $368 million to bring improved communications technology to the Commonwealth, as well as $9 billion specifically for bringing 5G technology to rural areas of the country, the new law helps ensure the state is ready to take advantage of the opportunity to better meet the communications needs of all Pennsylvanians.
Congratulations Cameron!

Did you know that Cameron Johnson plays basketball for the NBA's Phoenix Suns? The power forward is from Moon Township, attended Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Coraopolis and later played hoops for Pitt and North Carolina. Now, he has reached the pinnacle of success as a professional basketball player.

Cameron comes off the bench for the Suns who are playing Milwaukee for the NBA championship. Best of luck, Cameron! You should be very proud of your accomplishments.
Plan Your PA Getaway!

Summer is in full swing, but there’s still time to plan a great getaway right here in Pennsylvania.

Whether you’re looking for some solitude, a romantic trip or fun for the whole family, our Commonwealth has plenty to offer with great outdoor adventures, hopping city life, a variety of historic sites and delicious food.

Check out www.visitpa.com to plan your next trip!
Let's Get Connected

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Office Locations
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