In this Edition:
Scavello, Area Legislators Draft Letter to DEP on State’s Fill Standards
I was joined recently by fellow area legislators in sending a formal request to the DEP Deputy Secretary for Waste, Air, Radiation & Remediation asking that the DEP increase our state standards as they relate to clean fill and regulated fill.
In July, I hosted a hearing in Wind Gap with the Senate Majority Policy Committee where DEP indicated they are in the middle of their once-every-three-years update to the Commonwealth’s Statewide Health Standards and toxicity values for fill material.
DEP has the ability to bring our state standards up to those of New York and New Jersey through these regulatory changes. From my discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they confirmed that PA is the only state that differs from their standards pertaining to allowed contaminants in fill material.
I share the public’s concerns that PA’s lesser standards incentivize the dumping of contaminated fill within our region.
We are awaiting a formal response from DEP; however, should DEP choose not to increase our regulatory standards over fill material, I will introduce legislation that brings our standards into conformity with those of our surrounding states and the EPA.
Scavello Hosts Tele Town Hall on School Property Tax Elimination
I recently hosted a district-wide Tele Town Hall where, in addition to a number of other state issues, I provided an update on the progress of school property tax elimination. You listen to it here.
To review, I introduced legislation earlier this year that eliminates school property taxes off all owner-occupied properties in the Commonwealth. Companion legislation was introduced in the House as well by Representatives Rosemary Brown and Marcia Hahn.
I have since made additional changes to strengthen the language of the bill, which will make the elimination of school property taxes mandatory statewide. In addition, from my discussions with other senators, there was strong support for including a one percent sales tax in the proposal so there would be less reliance on the personal income tax for the tax shift away from school property taxes.
We pushed for action on the legislation before the budget season ended in July and it was not taken up. There are nine days of session left this year and I will do all I can to push for passage of the bill.
We need all school property tax elimination/reform proponents to join us in the fight to make this happen. Unfortunately, I am receiving resistance from groups that want “all or nothing” on all school property taxes. While I support full elimination, and have voted to support SB/HB 76 numerous times, it simply does not have the votes at this time.
I will keep fighting and remain hopeful for action.
Look Out for Invasive Spotted Lanternfly
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to report sightings of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly which presents a significant threat to PA agriculture, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries, which collectively are worth nearly $18 billion to the state’s economy.
The pest has prompted a quarantine on plants in southeastern PA, including Monroe and Northampton counties. The action Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture restricts the movement of plants, plant-based materials and outdoor household items out of the quarantine area.
You can call a special hotline at 1-888-422-3359 with questions on spotted lanternfly management or to report a sighting, or report a spotted lanternfly sighting online.
Mail Scam Threatens Penalties for “Tax Debt”
Beware of a recently reported mail scam threatening penalties if recipients don’t pay non-existing tax debt immediately.
PA residents have recently reported receiving notifications through the mail from the “Tax Processing Center.” The notices say the recipient owes “The State of Pennsylvania” unpaid taxes and a “warranted lien” has been issued in their name. The Department of Revenue will send multiple letters to taxpayers if there is a legitimate liability owed.
CareerLink Offers Free Services to Find a Job
Pennsylvania’s 72 CareerLink offices provide free services to people who are looking for their first job or seeking a new career and helps connect them to employers who are hiring.
You can search by location, job type, salary, work shift and more. You can also find local job fairs, training, workshops and other events in the area. It includes special services for military veterans.
Database Lists State Contracts for Public Review
Pennsylvania taxpayers can review state contracts worth $5,000 or more via a searchable database.
It includes more than 418,000 contracts with Commonwealth, legislative and judicial agencies recorded since 2008, when the database was created. Find contracts involving any real, personal or mixed property of any kind, and any contract for personal services where the consideration involved in the contract is $5,000 or greater.
Around the 40th District
Congratulations to Forever Fitness on the grand opening of their new gym facility at Pocono Manor this past weekend. We wish you all the best as you continue to enrich lives and promote fitness throughout our community!
This week I joined State Representative Marcia Hahn in recognizing Wind Gap Borough’s 125th Anniversary. It has been a pleasure working with the Borough on a number of state issues and I wish Wind Gap’s elected leaders and residents all the best in the many years ahead!
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