Feb. 02, 2024

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Mehaffie Message
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
In this Edition:
  •   Resources Available to Serve You
  •   2024-25 Budget Address Tuesday
  •   Staying Active in Our Community
  •   Apply Now for Community Conservation Grants
  •   Learn More About Infrastructure Funding Opportunities
  •   Funding Available to Help Substance Use Disorder Workers with Student Loan Debt
  •   Students Invited to Participate in Lyme Disease Awareness Campaign
  •   Be Aware of Tax Season Scams
Resources Available to Serve You

My office in Derry Township has a number of free documents and services available to you, including the state income tax forms shown here. We have Property Tax/Rent Rebate booklets and will soon get trout stocking schedules.

The talented staffers in the office are able to help you with state-related matters like PennDOT inquiries and problems with insurance companies.

Stop in to see us at 1 East Chocolate Ave., Suite 700, Hershey, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or by appointment on Friday mornings. Call 717-534-1323 for more information.
2024-25 Budget Address Tuesday

Gov. Josh Shapiro will deliver his 2024-25 state budget address this Tuesday, Feb. 6, before a joint session of the General Assembly. The session begins at noon and the address at 12:30 p.m. Watch the live stream at www.PAHouseGOP.com.

The location for the budget address changed this year due to ongoing maintenance in the House chamber; it will take place in the main Rotunda. Expect to hear commentary about education and public safety funding among other topics.
Staying Active in Our Community

The recent Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC Legislators' Forum gave me a chance to update Chamber members on state happenings and pending bills.

On Thursday, I spoke to 165 students at Middletown Area Middle School about “A Path to Success,” a Members 1st Federal Credit Union program incorporated into their social studies classes. I focused my remarks on entrepreneurship, government service and small business ownership.

As U-Haul is known for moving, it seemed appropriate to talk about its latest relocation plans announced in late January. The company is opening a facility in the 1000 block of Old West Chocolate Avenue in Derry Township, bringing services and new jobs to the community.

Hummelstown Winter Fling last Friday had food, live music, shopping and games, bringing a big crowd to town. I really enjoyed the evening.

Great meeting with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission last week to receive updates from Executive Director Timothy Schaeffer. The statewide opening day for trout fishing is April 6. I'm also in the planning stages for April's trout rodeo for children, so watch for updates on that fun event!

When the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company gathered for its annual banquet, it was a fantastic time to celebrate all the dedicated volunteers. Special recognition was given to Firefighter Jason Hottenstein, Company President Patrick Rudisill and Fire Chief Patrick Leonard. I'm grateful for them and all our exceptional first responders in this region.
Apply Now for Community Conservation Grants

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Recreation and Conservation is now accepting applications for its Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

The grants can be used to fund various planning, acquisition and development of public parks, recreation areas and trails. Grants can also fund river or open space conservation projects or support community and watershed forestry.

Organizations eligible for the grants include counties, municipalities, municipal agencies, nonprofits, state heritage areas and prequalified land trusts. For-profit organizations may be eligible for some grant categories. 

Interested applicants can find more information here.
Learn More About Infrastructure Funding Opportunities

The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) provides grants and low-interest loans to support sewer, storm water and drinking water projects in communities throughout the Commonwealth.

To help more government agencies and organizations better understand their funding options, PENNVEST is hosting a series of educational outreach sessions over the next several months. The sessions answer questions about funding sources, types of financing and where to go for help.

The first virtual training session will be held on Thursday, March 21, from 10-11 a.m. For a full list of virtual and in-person events, as well as links to register, click here.
Funding Available to Help Substance Use Disorder Workers with Student Loan Debt

Some $18 million is available through the substance use disorder (SUD) student loan repayment program to assist practitioners within the SUD treatment, prevention, case management and recovery support services workforce.

High rates of turnover and shortages of health care professionals have placed increased pressure on employee recruitment and retention, as well as access to care for Pennsylvania residents seeking SUD treatment and supports. Through this SUD loan repayment program, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs will provide loan repayment opportunities as an incentive to retain SUD practitioners willing to continue providing services within the Commonwealth. This is critical work to address an important workforce shortage in Pennsylvania.

The SUD loan repayment program is designed to help DDAP-licensed drug and alcohol treatment facilities as well as staff providing Single County Authority (SCA)-funded prevention, case management, and recovery support services in the Commonwealth. The program also allows practitioners who provide SUD treatment, prevention, case management and/or recovery support services for SUD at an approved practice site to receive repayment assistance for their outstanding, qualifying educational loans.

Applications must be submitted online by March 1. Learn more here.
Students Invited to Participate in Lyme Disease Awareness Campaign

Pennsylvania students in first through sixth grades are invited to enter the 2024 Lyme Art Contest by creating a short video or poster focusing on the theme: “Protect. Check. Remove.”

The annual contest helps students, Scout troops and community youth programs learn how to prevent Lyme disease by educating them about ticks, including where they live, how to prevent bites and how to remove ticks that do bite.

Pennsylvania has one of the highest annual counts of Lyme disease cases in the nation, which further emphasizes the importance of teaching children about tick awareness and prevention measures.

The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Friday, March 15. Click here for details.
Be Aware of Tax Season Scams

The Office of Attorney General is warning Pennsylvanians to be aware and stay cautious of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposter scams during tax season. Be on the lookout for unsolicited text messages, emails or phone calls appearing to be from the IRS demanding immediate payment or your personal information.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and the IRS both strongly recommend filing taxes early before scammers have the chance to use any personal information and file a fake tax return.

Please remember the IRS: 
  •   Does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or phone calls to request personal or financial information (generally the IRS first mails a paper bill to a person who owes taxes).
  •   Will never demand a specific type of payment using cash, crypto-currency, a prepaid debit card, gift card or a wire transfer.
  •   Will not leave a pre-recorded, urgent or threatening message on an answering system.
  •   Will not immediately threaten to sue or arrest you.

For more tips and information about what to do if you believe you have been victimized by a scam, click here.