Senator Cris Dush 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
  • Rail Freight Assistance Program Grants Awarded in 25th District
  • 25th District Receives Traffic Signal Technology Grants
  • Jefferson County Historical Society Receives $10,000 Historical & Archival Records Care Grant
  • Markers Approved for 25th Senatorial District Historic Locations
  • Reports Outline Natural Gas Costs and Readiness this Winter
  • Making the Holidays Brighter for Military Families and Veterans
  • Jefferson County Christmas Crafting
  • BHE GT&S Grants Benefit 25th District Organizations
  • 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

Rail Freight Assistance Program Grants Awarded in 25th District

State Rail Freight Assistance Program grant funding has been awarded for several projects within the 25th Senatorial District.

The investment in rail freight infrastructure is focused on preserving essential rail freight service where economically feasible, as well as preserving or stimulating economic development through the generation of new or expanded rail freight service.

Recipients of the grants include:

  • Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad LLC (Cameron County) was awarded a $1.4 million grant for its Buffalo Line Rehabilitation project, which seeks to rehabilitate approximately 23 miles of track with ties and track surfacing.
  • SEDA-COG – Joint Rail Authority (Centre County) was awarded a $955,000 for Nittany & Bald Eagle Capital Track and Turnouts Capital Improvements project, which will rehabilitate track and re-align a wye (triangular junction) near Bellefonte Yard and replace a switch on the main line.
  • Pine Creek Seed Holdings, LLC (Clinton County) was awarded a $1.9 million grant to provide new rail access.
  • South Avis Realty Inc. (Clinton County) was awarded a $559,000 grant for its project to rehabilitate industrial park yard tracks as well as raise a section of track to improve transloading.

And while parts of these projects are also located outside the 25th District, a portion of the grants will be used for sections of track located within the 25th District:

  • A $2.6 million grant for Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad, Inc.’s Power Switch Reliability Project, which will rehabilitate approximately 20 miles of track with new ties and upgrade radio control switches (Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson and McKean counties).
  • A $3 million grant for the RJC Track Rehabilitation project by R. J. Corman Railroad Company/Pennsylvania Lines, which will rehabilitate three sections of track (a total of approximately 24 miles of track) with tie replacement and track surfacing (Cambria, Clearfield and Clinton counties).

25th District Receives Traffic Signal Technology Grants

Three grants through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Traffic Signal Technologies Grant (TSTG) program have been awarded to communities within the 25th Senatorial District to help improve safety and traffic flow:

  • Benner Township, Centre County is the recipient of a $92,840 grant for connection of signals along Benner Pike to PennDOT’s unified command and control software;
  • College Township, Centre County was awarded a $127,700 grant for connection of signals along Benner Pike to PennDOT’s unified command and control software; and
  • A $86,307 grant was awarded to Porter Township, Clinton County for connection of signals along Route 64 to include I-80 interchange to PennDOT’s unified command and control software.

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.

Jefferson County Historical Society Receives $10,000 Historical & Archival Records Care Grant

It’s an imperative that we continue to work to preserve our common history, so I was pleased to hear the Jefferson County Historical Society received a $10,000 2023 Historical & Archival Records Care Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.

This is a restricted grant, earmarked for preservation of archival books and records, specifically the Jefferson County Record Books Collection inherited from the County Courthouse of which the historical society is the steward, as well as the original Naturalization Books currently stored by the Prothonotary’s office.

The County Records Collection covers the early 19th century to mid-20th century, dating 1824-1961, and includes court records, deeds, constable and sheriff’s accounts, and commissioner’s minutes, totaling 677 volumes. The Naturalization Records Collection covers 1831-1910, a total of 41 volumes.

The grant funds will cover the purchase of appropriate archival boxes, folders and protective sleeves to properly preserve and rehouse the collections in our New Archives Facility. The project will begin in Spring 2023, when these items will be moved from our prior archive buildings, the Brady-Craig House and Margaret Johnson Archives, to the new archives. It’s anticipated to be a one-to-two-year project.

Preserving these county historical documents will help us remember what has come before us, now and for generations to come.

Markers Approved for 25th Senatorial District Historic Locations

I’m pleased to announce two locations within the 25th Senatorial District were honored with historical markers through the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program.

One of those locations is the Pennsylvania Logging Railroad in Heath Township, Jefferson County. It’s one of the earliest logging locomotive railroads in Pennsylvania, built by the Wright & Pier Company in 1864 on the west branch of Callen Run in Jefferson County. This and other major innovations in early logging railroads significantly contributed to the expansion of the timber industry across the commonwealth.

The other location is Piper Aircraft in Lock Haven, Clinton County. William T. Piper Sr. moved his light airplane company from Bradford to Lock Haven in 1937, with the company’s most recognizable and popular plane – the J-3 Cubs – constructed there. Piper was very important during World War II, producing thousands of L-4 Grasshoppers – which were modified Cubs – that served with distinction in Europe and Asia during the war. At its peak, Piper employed more than 2,000 people and accounted for almost 50% of Clinton County’s economic output. The Lock Haven plant closed in 1984.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission administers a program of historical markers to capture the stories of people, places, events, and innovations that have affected the lives of Pennsylvanians over the centuries.  More than 2,500 cast aluminum markers feature subjects such as Native Americans, early settlers, government and politics, athletes, entertainers, artists, struggles for freedom and equality, factories and businesses, and a multitude of other noteworthy topics.

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.

Jefferson County Christmas Crafting

Pictured at the Heritage House in Brookville: Standing in front of tree Sandy Trimble and Patreen Raybuck.  Next sitting on the couch Pat Thompson, Jennifer Brocious, and June Romo.  Standing behind the couch from Left to Right are Kathy Shaffer, Deb Steele, Lindy Bowser, and Linda Miller.

 

Pictured standing at the Foundry in Reynoldsville, Jefferson County: Sandy Trimble, Vince Johnson, Carmella Roman, Sammie Freitas, Karen Gankosky, Donna Schuckers and Gina Lamb.

Sandy Trimble, who is a fiber artist and works through the Indiana University of Pennsylvania ArtsPath program, has taught classes at Jefferson County Senior Centers since 2018. 

Older adult students from all backgrounds can participate in ArtsPath programs, with more to come in 2023.

In the pictures above, students started the class with a small bit of raw wool and turned it into beautiful stockings to hang in their home for years to come. 

BHE GT&S Grants Benefit 25th District Organizations

Interstate natural gas transmission and storage company BHE GT&S recently announced it has awarded grants through their Philanthropy Program in an effort to give back to the many communities in which they live and work.

Recipients in the 25th Senatorial District are:

  • Galeton Area School District (Potter County) – $6,000 for Galeton Christmas Child & Project Warm
  • Keystone Elk Country Alliance (Elk County) – $20,000 for the Vista Wall Viewing Area Amphitheatre
  • Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority (Centre County) – $1,500 for Environmental Education
  • Citizen’s Hose Company of South Renovo (Clinton County) – $3,300 for Hurst Equipment Replacement
  • Greater Renovo Area Heritage Park (Clinton County) – $4,100 for Community Facility Upgrades

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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