Senator Gebhard E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Advances Key Education, School Safety Budget Priorities
  • Lebanon County Elected Officials Host Veteran Appreciation Drive-Thru Event
  • Funding for State-Related Universities Approved by Senate
  • Tax Revenues and PIT Collections Above Monthly Estimate
  • Loans Available for Businesses Creating and Retaining Jobs
  • Protect Yourself with Free Weekly Credit Reports
  • Recognizing National Child Safety and Protection Month
  • Local Events

Senate Advances Key Education, School Safety Budget Priorities

The Senate approved budget implementation language that will drive out critical funding to schools and present a more streamlined approach to school safety.

House Bill 301 allocates funding for several critical priorities that were included in the 2023-24 state budget, including:

  • $100 million for K-12 mental health programs.
  • An additional $150 million for education tax credits to provide scholarships to students through the existing Education Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs.
  • $295 million for Ready-to-Learn Block Grants.
  • More than $261 million for community colleges.
  • More than $76 million in special education funding for intermediate units.
  • $10 million to create a new Educator Pipeline Support Grant Program to provide grants to student teachers.
  • $46.5 million in reimbursements to school entities that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.
  • More than $70 million in state aid to public libraries.
  • $14.5 million in funding for career and technical schools.
  • $7 million to assist distressed schools.

The bill would also ensure greater collaboration in keeping children safe in the classroom by consolidating school safety programs and operations under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), which currently manages the highly successful School Safety and Security Grant Program created by Senate Republicans in 2018.

Learn more about other ways the bill helps students and schools here.

Lebanon County Elected Officials Host Veteran Appreciation Drive-Thru Event

This past Saturday, I joined Rep. Russ Diamond (R-102), Rep. John Schlegel (R-101), and Rep. Tom Jones (R-98) to host a veteran appreciation drive-thru event at the Lebanon County Expo Center.  Veterans traveled a pre-determined route lined with community businesses and supporters. 

We had an amazing turnout with over 300 veterans.    It was an honor to host these incredible men and women who have served our country as a small way to thank them for defending our great country. 

Veterans received Wertz Popcorn served from Visit Lebanon Valley, Sandwiches from R&K Subs, and Farm Show Milkshakes from the PA Dairymen’s Association.  Ebenezer Fire Company, West Lebanon Fire Department and Neversink Fire Company came out with their ladder trucks and Sweet Life Music performed for those in line. 

Thank you to all the businesses and organizations who donated time and money to help make this event possible.  We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they made so we are able to enjoy our freedom.

Funding for State-Related Universities Approved by Senate

This week, the Senate voted to support funding for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities.

I did support the approved House Bill 1556, which would require greater transparency from state-related universities. The bill would ensure the institutions provide additional information in its annual Right-to-Know Law filing, including information related to contracts, financial statements, faculty, compensation, enrollment, courses and meeting minutes.

Because the House then also passed both bills, they are set for enactment.

Tax Revenues and PIT Collections Above Monthly Estimate

Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares an update about the state’s financial health. The most recent report shows that General Fund tax revenues were $118.6 million, or 3.9%, above the monthly estimate. However, total General Fund revenue collections for the first four months of the fiscal year are still below estimate by $47.5 million.

Personal Income Tax collections exceeded October’s estimate by $35.6 million, or 2.8%, but remain below estimate for the fiscal year by $77 million, or 1.5%.

The full update, including the monthly revenue report, is available here.

Loans Available for Businesses Creating and Retaining Jobs

Low-interest loans and lines of credit are available to eligible businesses that commit to creating and retaining full-time jobs and for the development of industrial parks and multi-tenant facilities.

The money can be used for land and building acquisitions, machinery and equipment purchases, working capital and accounts receivable lines of credit, multi-tenant facility projects and industrial park projects.

Learn more and apply online here.

Protect Yourself with Free Weekly Credit Reports

The three national credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – permanently extended a program allowing you to check your credit report at each agency once a week for free.

Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request free copies of your credit reports. Other sites may charge you or be fraudulent sites set up to steal your personal information.

By reviewing your credit report, you can easily discover if information has been mistakenly reported about you or if someone opened credit in your name. Reporting mistakes and identity theft can help you build a strong credit score that will benefit you when you need to borrow money, secure a rental home and even apply for a job.

Recognizing National Child Safety and Protection Month

National Child Safety and Protection Month is dedicated to recognizing the dangers children may face and taking steps to prevent those challenges.

We have passed bills to provide child identification kits to parents to help identify and return missing children and to allow parents to surrender their unharmed baby at participating urgent care centers.

Other bills would protect them on their way to school by increasing penalties for drivers who refuse to stop for school buses and extending and revamping the school bus stop arm automated enforcement program.

Local Events

Friday, November 17, 6pm 2023 CLA Holiday Tree Lighting
Ninth and Cumberland Street, Lebanon
Click here

Saturday, November 18, 10am 2023 CLA Holiday Parade
Between Lincoln Avenue and 9th Street on Cumberland Street, Lebanon
Click here

Saturday, November 18, 8am Give Thanks For Lebanon 5K/10K Race
Lebanon High School
Click here

Saturday, November 18, 5:30-8pm Annual Candlelight Guided Evening Tours
Conrad Weiser Homestead
Click here

Saturday, November 18, 4:30pm First Lunar Quarter Star Watch
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
Click here

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