Mar. 08, 2019

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The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Portion of U.S. 22/322 in Perry County to Close on March 18

PennDOT tells us that starting Monday, March 18, at 7 a.m. (weather permitting), its contractor will close the westbound lanes of U.S. 22/322 in Perry County for a safety improvement project. The work will require the implementation of a two-week detour.

During a routine inspection last month, PennDOT engineers noticed that recent weathering of a slope near the Newport exit has left several large sandstone blocks with weakened support, resulting in concern that some of the steep hillside may give way. The project involves the removal of loose rock along a 1,000-foot portion of the highway.

While the work is underway, a detour which follows southbound Route 34, West Shortcut Road and West Juniata Parkway will be available for motorists.

In addition, electronic message signs will be placed along westbound U.S. 22/322 approaching the Clarks Ferry Bridge, well before the Newport exit, encouraging larger vehicles and through traffic to use northbound U.S. 11/15 to Liverpool, then westbound Route 17 to Millerstown, and North Market Street back to U.S. 22/322 to avoid the closure.
Help for First-Time Homebuyers

Legislation that would create the First-Time Home Buyers Savings Account Act in Pennsylvania is now moving through the General Assembly. House Bill 128 passed recently in the House and is now with the Senate for consideration.

The goal of the bill is to allow for the setting aside of savings toward the down payment and closing costs of purchasing a first home. Those savings and interest earnings can then be used as a deduction on the homebuyer’s state income taxes.

It’s estimated this type of savings account program would result in an estimated 4,000 additional home purchases a year, and up to $70 million more in annual economic activity.

Purchasing a home today has become more and more difficult for many Pennsylvania residents. This proposal would be a tool that helps people turn their American dream into reality.
Supporting PA National Guard Families

Ensuring a better future for our Pennsylvania National Guard members and their families is the driving force behind a first-of-its-kind Military Family Education Program.

The legislation, which should be introduced soon, builds on the state’s existing program by extending benefits to a guard member’s spouse or children in exchange for the guard member committing to a second obligation of six years in the Guard. The program would provide for 10 semesters of tuition-free education for family member(s).

The initiative not only recognizes the sacrifices made by Guard families but also helps retain current National Guard members and attract transitioning military service members to Pennsylvania. Learn more here.
Budget Hearings Conclude

Making sure every dollar of state tax money is used to its maximum benefit, the House Appropriations Committee wrapped up a three-week series of budget hearings on Wednesday, with the committee looking into all aspects of the governor’s spending proposal for the next fiscal year.

The committee heard testimony and asked questions to the departments of Education, Agriculture, and Military and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).

The committee will take the testimony gathered from these hearings into negotiations for the 2019-20 budget. Videos of all of the hearings are available here.
Pennsylvania’s Economic Outlook

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania collected $2 billion in General Fund revenue in February, which was $2.5 million less than anticipated. So far this fiscal year, General Fund collections total $20.2 billion, which is $287.4 million above the official estimate.

Since the start of the 2018-19 fiscal year, overall tax revenue is $1.1 billion more than was collected during the same period of the last fiscal year. Learn more here.
Spring Ahead This Weekend

Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 10, at 2 a.m., and you are reminded to turn clocks ahead one hour Saturday night. This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. The alarms should also be replaced every 10 years. Daylight saving time will end on Nov. 3.
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Perry County Office, 18 West Main Street, PO Box 9. New Bloomfield PA 17068 | Tel: 717-582-8119
Cumberland County Office, 81 Walnut Bottom Road, P.O. Box 705, Shippensburg, PA 17257 | Tel: 717-477-0905
Room 108 , Ryan Office Building, PO Box 202086. Harrisburg, PA 17120-2086 | Tel: 717-783-1593
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