In this Update:
Senate Hearings on Proposed State Budget Get Underway
The Senate Appropriations Committee held the first of four weeks of public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget.
Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.
The administration’s proposed massive spending increase relies on rosy revenue projections not supported by the Independent Fiscal Office. IFO Director Matthew Knittel testified that revenue projections could be revised downward depending on various factors including the end of the stimulus funding and actions at the federal level.
State Treasurer Stacy Garrity said Treasury sees the potential for sizable deficits in future years that would require tax hikes, new taxes or spending cuts to erase the deficits. She testified the governor’s budget proposal contains wildly low projected spending, particularly in human services, while it builds in unrealistic revenue assumptions.
You can find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.
Additional 100,000 Older Adults Eligible for Prescription Assistance
Legislation approved by the General Assembly in December expanding income eligibility limits for the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly Needs Enhancement Tier (PACENET) program is now in effect. With the inflation we are seeing this is going to be necessary to help prevent many seniors on a fixed income from having to make choices between food and medicine.
The new law allows an additional 100,000 older adults to now become eligible to sign up for the program with enrollment beginning this month. The law expands the PACENET income limits by $6,000:
The PACENET and PACE programs are funded with revenue from the Pennsylvania Lottery and provide comprehensive reimbursement coverage for prescription medications to qualified older Pennsylvanians. The program serves older Pennsylvanians 65 years of age and older, many of whom require multiple medications for several chronic conditions.
You can read more about PACE/PACENET, the latest expansion and the application process here.
Community Conservation Partnerships Grant Application Round Now Open
Applications are now being accepted for Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resource (DCNR) Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants. The deadline for the 2022 grant application round is 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6.
The grants can fund planning, acquisition, and development of public parks; recreation areas; motorized and non-motorized trails; river conservation and access; and conservation of open space. The grants can also be used to support regional and statewide partnerships that build capacity to better develop and manage resources.
Last year, $70 million in grants were awarded through the program. For more information about the grant program, see the DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program website.
Clinton County Tourism/Recreation Grant Applications Due Monday, Feb. 28
Applications for the 2022 Clinton County Tourism/Recreation Grant Program – a collaboration between the Partnership’s Tourist Promotion Agency, the Clinton County Commissioners and County Planning Department – are due this coming Monday, Feb. 28.
The purpose of this reimbursement-only funding program, which is to support local nonprofit organizations and municipalities in the development and expansion of tourist and recreational assets/events that promote Clinton County and increase tourism and overnight stays within the county.
The online application form and grant guidelines are available HERE.
Virtual Veteran Town Hall Series Set for 2022
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has announced five Virtual Veteran Town Halls to provide veterans with a convenient platform to learn and ask questions about programs and benefits earned through their military service.
Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters live during a chat feature. Visit DMVA’s website two weeks prior to each town hall for the link to participate.
Student Art Competition Raises Awareness About Ticks and Lyme Disease
As the number of Lyme disease cases in the state and across the nation continues to rise, students can use their artistic talents to raise awareness of the prevalence of ticks and the types of diseases they carry.
The Lyme Disease Art Contest is open to children in first through sixth grade. Entries must be received by March 11. Contest materials can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website. Finalists will be notified by mail and will be invited to an award ceremony in May.
There are reports of up to 10,000 Lyme disease cases per year in Pennsylvania and more are likely unreported. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a short course of antibiotics. However, if the infection is left untreated, it can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system. Ticks that cause Lyme disease are found in every county and every green space, even in cities.
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