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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.
Much Work Remains on 2023-24 State Budget

The annual state budget bill and related legislation remain stalled after a breakdown in negotiations between the governor and the two majority parties in the Legislature – Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the House.

A major factor in the breakdown was the pledge by Gov. Josh Shapiro to back out of an agreement he reached with the state Senate on scholarships for students stuck in the state’s worst performing schools. His intention to veto funding for the program is a major breach of trust and, more importantly, it fails to provide other opportunities for kids who need it the most.

I voted “no” on the budget bill for a number of reasons. While there are many positive things in this spending plan, overall, the budget spends more than what the government is projected to bring in. That is simply irresponsible. Remember, when we spend beyond what we bring in, it eventually leads to higher taxes on all Pennsylvanians.

In addition, it does not adequately save for the future economic downturn that many economists are predicting. This budget represents an increase in spending of 6%.

The only way to pay for this overspending is, first to spend through emergency reserves and then increased taxes. Government needs to be more fiscally responsible and must start treating taxpayers with greater respect.

I will keep you posted with any updates. Protecting taxpayers will remain one of my top priorities.


Valerie Gaydos
We Want to Hear From You!

I am hosting a new event called “Open Mic.” I feel it’s important for you to have the opportunity to have your opinions heard and questions answered about state-related issues.

Whether you are concerned about election reform, property taxes, the state budget or any other matter affecting Pennsylvania, you can step up and say what is on your mind.

All the information can be seen above. I hope to see you soon.
Moonshot Poster Contest Winner from Moon Township

My congratulations to Enzo Reilsono! The Moon Area Middle School student won first place in the contest to celebrate America’s upcoming return to the moon this year.

Enzo won the Pennsylvania Pride Award for middle school students with his keystone-shaped image of lunar landers (shown above). Students had four theses to choose from: History in the Making, Commercial Space Industry, Flight of the Falcon or Powered by Pennsylvania.

Here is a video where I presented Enzo with a House of Representatives citation and asked him to explain his winning entry.

The contest was sponsored by the Moonshot Museum on the North Side, Penn State University’s Readiness Institute, Astrobotic and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
3 For Free!

 Pictured with me is Daniel Griffin, chairman of Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).

Admission to three Pittsburgh museums will be free throughout the entire month of August. The Andy Warhol Museum, Children’s Museum and Heinz History Center will be open free of charge every operating day next month.

The free admission celebrates the museums winning honors in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. They were voted among the nation’s best art, history and children’s museums.

The Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) encourages visitors looking for free tickets to book online.

Pittsburgh was the only city to see three different museums honored in the top five, and all are supported by annual operating grants from RAD.

There will also be free admission for the annual RAD Days in September.

 Pictured with me are (left) Tonia Rose, vice president of Heinz History Center; and Richard Hudic, executive director of RAD.
Funding Awarded to Bell Acres Borough

 Pictured with me are (left) Lisa Fleming, borough manager of Bell Acres Borough; Kris Korol, chief of police of Bell Acres Borough; Charlie Kulbacki, councilman of Bell Acres Borough; Ken Alvania, mayor of Bell Acres Borough; Sen. Devlin Robinson; Brock Meanor, council vice president of Bell Acres Borough; David Renfrew, council president of Bell Acres Borough; Jill Palko, secretary of Bell Acres Borough; and Chris Abell, councilman of Bell Acres Borough.

I was happy to join Sen. Devlin Robinson to present a check for $169,976 to Bell Acres Borough. The money will be used to replace aging equipment, which includes a backhoe, commercial mower and police car.

The funding came from the Local Share Account grants, which support economic development, job training, community improvement and public interest projects through gaming funds, were approved and awarded by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
Update on Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vouchers

Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture operates its Farmers Market Nutrition Program for low-income seniors and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) recipients.

The program provides vouchers that can be redeemed at local farmers markets and farm stands for fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Vouchers will begin to be distributed on Tuesday, July 25, by the Area Agency on Aging senior center network on a first-come, first-served basis. The vouchers may be used through Nov. 30 to purchase Pennsylvania grown produce from participating vendors at farmers markets throughout Allegheny County. Those who are eligible but unable to get to a senior center may designate a proxy to pick up and redeem the vouchers. There is a limit of four proxy forms per person.

To be eligible, you must be an Allegheny County resident age 60 or older before Dec. 31, not live in a residential facility that provides meals, and meet income requirements ($26,973 annual gross income for a one-person household and $36,482 for a two-person household).

To access distribution sites, proxy forms, locations of farmers markets and other information about the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, please click here. Information is also available by calling the Area Agency on Aging SeniorLine at 412-350-5460.
Expanding Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

Legislation that would make more Pennsylvania seniors and people with disabilities eligible for property tax or rent relief was recently approved by the House.  

House Bill 1100 would increase income limits for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for homeowners and renters to $45,000. The bill would also raise the maximum amount each homeowner or renter can receive from $650 to $1,000.

This bill will help expand the reach of property tax and rent relief to more than 150,000 additional individuals and help make Pennsylvania a more affordable place to live. The measure is pending the governor’s signature to become law.

The rebate program benefits eligible residents 65 years and older; widows and widowers 50 years and older; and people with disabilities 18 years and older. Currently, the income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. Contact my office for additional information or assistance with filing an application. Information is also available online here.  
House Passes Bill to Relieve Teacher Shortages

By a unanimous vote, the House recently advanced legislation to address teacher shortages in Pennsylvania.  

House Bill 27 would extend a law passed during the COVID-19 pandemic that gave Pennsylvania schools flexibility in the hiring of substitute teachers. The bill would make permanent the ability for retired educators and staff to work as substitutes in our public schools for more than 20 days without any impact on their pension, as well as the use of locally issued temporary certification for substitutes for people who have completed the educator preparation program but have not yet graduated.

The measure would also extend the portions of the law that allow for classroom monitor permits and prospective teachers who are in the process of completing their educator preparation program to also serve as substitutes until the end of the 2025-26 school year.

The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.  
Attention College-Bound Students: Complete the FAFSA

With a key Aug. 1 financial aid deadline approaching, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding a statewide webinar later this month to guide college-bound students and their families in completing the 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process.

The “FAFSA Line by Line Overview Presentation,” hosted by PHEAA’s Higher Education Access Partners, will guide attendees through each step in filing the 2023-24 FAFSA and the Pennsylvania State Grant application to assist them in meeting the Aug. 1 deadline. This is the filing deadline for students planning to enroll in a community college; a designated Pennsylvania Open-Admission institution; a business, trade or technical school; a hospital school of nursing; or a two-year program that is not transferable to another institution.

The webinar will be held on Monday, July 24, from 6-7 p.m. Click here to register.
Attention Veterans: DMVA Helps Locate Lost Military Documents

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is reminding veterans it can help locate their lost DD Form 214 (DD-214) and other military documents so they can get credit for time served and receive important benefits they have earned.

The DD-214 contains information needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment and membership in veterans’ organizations. Without this key document, there could be significant delays when a veteran seeks benefits earned through their service to our nation. The DMVA can also assist with locating the DD-215, which is used to correct errors or make additions to a DD-214, helping to assure that veterans have accurate discharge documentation.

Anyone needing assistance from the DMVA to locate their DD-214/215, or other military documentation, can call toll-free 1-800-547-2838 or e-mail RA-REQ@pa.gov. More information about locating military documents can be found by visiting the Records Request Program.

Another way to stay in touch is for veterans, family members and people who work with veterans to sign up for the DMVA’s Veterans Registry by visiting www.register.dmva.pa.gov.
Safety Tips from Columbia Gas

Here is some important news from Columbia Gas. To help keep you informed about important safety topics, such as work-zone safety, 811, and what to do if you smell gas, Columbia Gas has developed a newsletter with a variety of safety-related information. Click here to read.
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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