Senator Laughlin E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Measures Taken to Prevent Tax Hikes and Create Jobs
  • Appropriations Monthly Update Highlights Five-Year Budget Outlook, Inflation
  • Grants Awarded to Erie County Law Enforcement Agencies
  • $441,200 Grant Will Help Upgrade Peach Street Corridor Traffic Signals
  • Steelhead Tour
  • Reports Outline Natural Gas Costs and Readiness this Winter
  • Making the Holidays Brighter for Military Families and Veterans
  • Celebrating and Protecting Our Bill of Rights
  • Happy Hanukkah 

Measures Taken to Prevent Tax Hikes and Create Jobs

In the 2021-22 legislative session, the General Assembly enacted measures that shielded Pennsylvanians from tax hikes and reduced the burden on job creators to bring good-paying and family-sustaining jobs to our commonwealth.

We cut the Corporate Net Income Tax to attract employers to Pennsylvania, modernized expense deductions allowing small business owners more flexibility and tax planning opportunities, and provided tax incentives for small businesses to grow and invest in Pennsylvania.

Other steps taken to expand job growth included establishing the Pennsylvania Economic Development for a Growing Economy (PA EDGE) tax credit program and other targeted initiatives directly linked to creating jobs for Pennsylvanians.

I’ll continue to work in the 2023-24 legislative session to ease the tax burden on Pennsylvania families and enact measures that promote job growth.

Appropriations Monthly Update Highlights Five-Year Budget Outlook, Inflation

Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee provides an update on the state’s current revenue performance, as well as information on issues of financial importance for Pennsylvania in the months and years to come. These reports help inform the decisions we make in Harrisburg, while providing a critical layer of transparency for you to know how your tax dollars are being utilized.

This month’s edition highlights the state’s five-year budget outlook, as well as the impacts of inflation, the state’s new revenue reporting system, and more. Monthly Report

Grants Awarded to Erie County Law Enforcement Agencies

This past week, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) approved grants to help several Erie County law enforcement agencies better protect their communities.

The General Assembly created the Local Law Enforcement Support Grant Program as part of the state budget approved in July. The funding through PCCD can be used for many different projects or purchases to enhance public safety, such as communications system upgrades, body-worn or in-car cameras, recruitment and retention, training, surveillance cameras, automated license plate readers and more.

Grant recipients included:

  • Edinboro Borough ($396,132) for body-worn cameras; in-car cameras; patrol unit computers; desktop computers; a new records management system (RMS); a less lethal shotgun (bean bag projectile); video surveillance cameras; a license plate reader and bonuses.
  • Erie City ($1,603,568) for car cameras; digital evidence storage; a civilian crime analyst; 3D scene mapping software; communications and computer equipment; hardware; software and mobile technology equipment; overtime coverage and training expenses.
  • Erie County Chief Executive Officer ($1,030,998) for an interview room camera system; security cameras; mobile forensic tools; a surveillance vehicle; surveillance cameras; servers and battery backup; redaction software and a digital forensic examiner.
  • Girard Borough ($33,915) for body-worn cameras.
  • Lawrence Park Township ($123,176) for a RMS upgrade, body-worn cameras and mobile data terminals.
  • Millcreek Township ($207,924) for body-worn cameras and related licenses, storage, hardware and software.
  • North East Borough ($53,408) for a RMS upgrade to include a transition to National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) reporting.
  • Wesleyville Borough ($113,634) for a RMS upgrade to enable NIBRS reporting, one in-car camera and server upgrade to support the RMS upgrade.

PCCD approved grants to 197 law enforcement agencies totaling $135 million statewide

$441,200 Grant Will Help Upgrade Peach Street Corridor Traffic Signals

This past week a grant was awarded to improve safety and traffic flow in Erie County communities as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Traffic Signal Technologies Grant (TSTG) program.

The $441,200 grant given to Summit and Millcreek townships is for signal system upgrades and connection to PennDOT’s unified command and control software along the Peach Street corridor.

Thanks to this grant, more improvements can be made to the traffic signals in our community. I’m pleased we’re continuing efforts to increase safety, ensure better traffic flow and benefit all those who traverse Peach Street.

The TSTG program was established by Act 54 of 2022 and is provided as reimbursement to municipalities for updates to improve the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals. Grant funding through the TSTG program may be utilized for a range of operational improvements including new traffic signal systems, adaptive signal control technology, automated traffic signal performance measures and connection to PennDOT’s unified command and control software.

Steelhead Tour

On Dec. 13th, I joined the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission as they welcomed the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing, and Conservation as well as several outdoor merchandise manufacturers to Trout Run for a steelhead collection.

The program is designed to show how the federal excise tax, paid for by manufactures on fishing and marine products, is being used in the Pennsylvania to promote the great fisheries we have.

These steelhead will be taken to the Fairview Hatchery where the next generation of these fish will be collected and distributed.

Reports Outline Natural Gas Costs and Readiness this Winter

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has released its 2022 Winter Readiness Overviews covering the reliability and expected cost of natural gas service this winter.

According to the Readiness Report from the Energy Association of Pennsylvania, home heating costs are expected to rise significantly over the winter, driven by an estimated 5% increase in consumption (for households that use natural gas as their primary heating fuel), along with a 28% rise in natural gas prices compared to last winter. 

Additionally, all of Pennsylvania’s major natural gas distribution companies indicated that they have sufficient supplies and procedures in place to ensure reliable natural gas service this winter. You can find details and local utility reports here.

Making the Holidays Brighter for Military Families and Veterans

Please consider making the holidays brighter for veterans, service members and their families with a tax-deductible donation to any of these support programs run by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Military Family Relief Assistance Program provides financial assistance, in the form of grants, to eligible Pennsylvania service members and their eligible family members who have an immediate financial need based on circumstances beyond their control.

Veterans’ Trust Fund issues grants to statewide charitable organizations that assist veterans, veterans service organizations and county directors of veterans affairs to help veterans in need of shelter and necessities of living.

You can also give to Residents’ Welfare Funds at any of the DMVA’s six veterans homes to keep our residents active, healthy and engaged.

You can donate online or by mail to: DMVA Office for Veterans Affairs, Bldg. 0-47, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003-5002.

Celebrating and Protecting Our Bill of Rights

The right to free speech, the right to bear arms and eight other amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up our Bill of Rights. This week, we celebrate its Dec. 15, 1791 ratification and pledge to defend these rights forever.

Happy Hanukkah

To everyone observing Hanukkah, I hope these eight days bring you joy and a sense of rededication.

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