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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.
Crafting a Fiscally Responsible Budget

Responsible budgeting is crucial to ensuring the long-term financial health of our state, and it requires a balanced spending plan with saving and investing in the future. In early February, the 2024-25 state budget process got underway when Gov. Josh Shapiro delivered his budget address before a joint session of the General Assembly.

The governor’s address is just the beginning of the annual state budget process. The House Appropriations Committee has conducted three weeks of hearings designed to give the administration’s department heads the opportunity to advocate for their funding and lawmakers the chance to get more details about the governor’s proposal.

The governor is proposing a $48.34 billion budget, which is an increase of $3.7 billion over the current fiscal year. This will cost hardworking taxpayers a fortune. More government spending equals higher taxes.

I have supported our Rainy Day Fund to help prepare for any future economic downturns. This budget will deplete that fund within four years.

The governor’s budget proposal completely reverses the past efforts of the House Republican Caucus over the last several years. Those efforts have been building the balance in the Rainy Day Fund, bringing future Commonwealth spending in line with state revenues and avoiding the practice of deficit spending.

Given the demographic challenges we face with significant growth in the elderly population and contraction in the working-age population, this is not the time to go on a spending spree with our reserves, as well as expand government and introduce new spending.

The budget proposal aims to do some great things, such as an increase in funding for education, fire and emergency medical services personnel, state police and senior citizen programs. I am pleased the governor noted the importance of Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) reform in his remarks. My bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Jessica Benham (D-Allegheny), will help keep costs low for consumers and support small, local pharmacies.

The House Appropriations Committee has concluded its hearings. The time is now to process the data given through the testimony and craft a fiscally responsible budget.

Moving forward, I plan to stand up for taxpayers, deliver on investing in our students, and help grow our economy by making sound, targeted investments. We can’t spend more than we take in. Our families cannot afford it. 
Protecting Critical State Assets from Unfriendly Foreign Entities

Following several high-profile events across the country, including the recent hacking of the Aliquippa Municipal Authority in Beaver County, a package of bills will soon be introduced to help protect critical state assets from unfriendly foreign entities, including China.

One measure would further protect agricultural land in Pennsylvania by restricting the ability of “countries of concern” as designated by the federal government (i.e. China, Russia, Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria and other countries that do not permit Americans to purchase farmland in their country) to purchase such land in Pennsylvania.

Another measure would establish the Pennsylvania Cyber Security Task Force, which would be composed of staff from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Public Utility Commission and other critical stakeholders that would assist institutions and facilities with cyber security needs and require the implementation of security safeguards.

The final proposal would call on the Joint State Government Commission to review possible policies the Commonwealth can establish to review foreign purchases of infrastructure assets and adjacent land in the Commonwealth for possible security implications to critical infrastructure.

As the co-chair of the Cyber Security Caucus, I will be co-sponsoring these measures. Advocating for your security and the security of businesses will always be one of my main priorities.

Read more here.
‘Election Threats’ Task Force Must Step up to Ensure More Voter Confidence

Gov. Josh Shapiro recently announced plans to create an Election Threats Task Force involving, among others, the Department of State and Pennsylvania State Police. Sadly, his approach misses the point when it comes to ensuring integrity in our elections.

Voter confidence has plummeted because the state Supreme Court willfully refuses to follow the plain language of Pennsylvania’s election laws; the Department of State offers conflicting, confusing and last-minute election guidance that purposefully sows chaos, confusion and discord into the election process; and Shapiro and members of his party have refused to embrace the most universally supported election security measure – voter ID.

We must shore up the very foundation of our voting system by guaranteeing uniformity in elections across counties, as is required by the Pennsylvania Constitution, and ensuring the administration is providing clear and consistent guidance to our election officials.
Tuition Assistance Program for EMS Professionals

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced a $1 million tuition assistance program to help recruit and retain Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals.

As a former EMS professional, this program is very important. It is funded by $1 million from the Fireworks Tax Act each year for the next three years. Pennsylvania residents who obtained a Pennsylvania state certification as an emergency medical responder (EMR), emergency medical technician (EMT), advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT), or paramedic after July 1, 2023, are eligible to have a portion of their tuition reimbursed.

In addition, Pennsylvania licensed EMS agencies are eligible to receive reimbursement of expenses related to recruitment and retention efforts, up to $1,250 per fiscal year.
This tuition reimbursement assistance is in addition to the recent increase in mileage rates for ambulance services to help support our EMS workers and first responders.
More information about how to obtain reimbursement is available here.
Learn More About Infrastructure Funding Opportunities

The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) provides grants and low-interest loans to support sewer, storm water and drinking water projects in communities throughout the Commonwealth.

To help more government agencies and organizations better understand their funding options, PENNVEST is hosting a series of educational outreach sessions over the next several months. The sessions answer questions about funding sources, types of financing and where to go for help.

The first virtual training session will be held on Thursday, March 21, from 10-11 a.m. For a full list of virtual and in-person events, as well as links to register, click here.
Next ‘Gen’ Event Postponed

Unfortunately, I am postponing my Next “Gen” Information Fair that was scheduled for Saturday, April 6.

The good news is the event will be rescheduled for September. Please make sure you keep a look out. When I have a firm date in September, I will let you know.
Leetsdale Fire Department Honored

Congratulations to the Leetsdale Fire Department! They were recognized by Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy DeFoor for their successful management of their volunteer relief association funds and participation in a pilot program to improve the auditing process for fire relief associations.

I was honored to recognize them for their outstanding work, along with my colleague Sen. Devlin Robinson. Congratulations to the entire department, and thank you for your commitment to public safety.

You can read more about the auditor general’s pilot program here.
Time to Play Scamo Bingo

I had a great time visiting Tapestry Senior Living Moon Township. The seniors and I participated in scamo bingo and then they decided to play some regular bingo games. I called out the letter and numbers for a group of seniors.

Cyndie Carioli, senior justice advocate for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, talked to the group about how to be aware of scams that affect them.

A special thank you to Celeste Fryz (pictured above), senior coordinator for Tapestry Senior Living Moon Township, for bringing us all together to have fun while learning at the same time.
Changing of the Guard

At the Pittsburgh International Airport last Saturday, engines were roaring overhead as the National Anthem played.

Maj. Gen. D. Scott Durham, commander of the 4th Air Force Headquarters hosted a change of command ceremony at the 911th Airlift Wing. Col. Bryan Bailey relinquished command of the 911th Airlift Wing to Col. Douglas Stouffer.

It was a pleasure to welcome the new commander to the 44th Legislative District and recognize the accomplishments of Col. Bailey as he received the Legion of Merit.

The 911th Airlift Wing's mission is to organize, recruit and train Air Force Reserve personnel to provide strategic airlift of airborne forces, their equipment and supplies and delivery of these forces and materials by airdrop, landing or cargo extraction systems.
Bills Aim to Improve, Streamline Vital Property Tax, Rent Relief Program

A package of three bills designed to reform and streamline the state’s successful Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program will soon be introduced in the state House.

The proposals come on the heels of a law adopted last year that significantly expanded income eligibility limits and increased the maximum rebates to provide more help to senior citizens and people with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

The bills would streamline the application process by allowing people to simultaneously apply for the rebates when filing annual returns for the state Personal Income Tax; require the Department of Revenue to decide on a completed application within 10 days of receipt or it will be deemed approved; and remove confusion about the application deadline by permanently setting it for Dec. 31 each year.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible residents age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. Income eligibility limits stand at $45,000 for both homeowners and renters, with 50% of Social Security excluded when calculating income. The maximum rebate is $1,000.

For more information about the program, click here. If you think you may qualify and need assistance with filing the application, please contact my office.
Thank You, Jennifer

It was my pleasure to present a House of Representatives citation to Jennifer Harrison. She is retiring after 35 years of service. I had the good fortune to be the beneficiary of those last few, well-seasoned years! Thank you, Jennifer.

Along with Rep. Tim Twardzik, Jennifer has served as our Legislative Assistant for the past several years.

She is dedicated, determined and hard-working. Jennifer will be missed greatly by everyone. We wish her the best for her hard earned and well-deserved time to enjoy her retirement.

Spring Ahead: Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour This Weekend

Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 10, at 2 a.m. Be sure to turn your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night before going to bed.

This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. It is also recommended the alarms be replaced every 10 years.
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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