In this Update:
Penn State’s Ag Progress Days
I attended Penn State’s Ag Progress Days Government and Industry Luncheon in Centre County. Penn State’s Ag Progress Days is Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural expo and reflects the diversity of Pennsylvania’s agriculture. Thank you for the invitation!
Clearfield County Farm Bureau Legislative Tour
I attended the Clearfield County Farm Bureau Legislative Farm/Agribusiness Tour at the Curwensville Feed Store. The store is owned and operated by Dave and Pam Riddle, which are the third generation of Riddle’s to operate the business. Founded in 1942, they also have second location in DuBois which opened in 1992. Thank you for the tour and conversation.
Senate Citation Presentation to the Clearfield Wholesale Paper Company
I had the honor of presenting a Senate Citation to the Clearfield Wholesale Paper Company as they celebrate their 100th Anniversary. Established in 1922, Clearfield Wholesale Paper Co. is a family-owned business currently operating under the leadership of fourth-generation owners, Joel and Cindy Peterson. Congratulations and best wishes!
Celebrating 35 Years of JWF Industries
I attended the 35th Anniversary Celebration for JWF Industries! Congrats to Bill Polacek and JWF Industries!
Visit with the Child Advocacy Center
My staff visited the Child Advocacy Center of Clearfield County. The center covers the entire county and assists children who were in child abuse situations. Thank you to Kirby the service dog, Mary Tatum, and staff for a wonderful visit!
In-Person Service Resumes for Unemployment Compensation Claimants
In-person services for Unemployment Compensation (UC) claimants are now available by appointment at all PA CareerLink centers throughout the commonwealth, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.
In-person services are designed to assist individuals who do not have online access or technical skills or have limited English proficiency.
To schedule an appointment, please contact the nearest PA CareerLink site, which can be found at the bottom of the homepage.
Avian Influenza Recovery Grants Available
Recovery assistance is now available for poultry farmers and integrators impacted by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The grant program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, will provide reimbursement to farms, integrators and allied industries directly impacted by HPAI by suffering demonstrable financial losses due to inclusion in a control or quarantine zone.
The number of farms directly impacted by HPAI is currently limited to 17 in Lancaster and Berks counties, which experienced losses of more than 4.2 million birds. Pennsylvania’s $7.1 billion poultry industry employs 26,600 workers.
Business Owners Targeted with Fraudulent Letters
Business owners should be alert for fraudulent letters trying to trick them into turning over their accounting records.
The fraudulent letters include the Department of Revenue’s name and logo and leads recipients to believe that they are under investigation for “alleged violation of delinquent sales tax liability.” The letter includes contact information for a “Resolution Officer” and urges the business owner to provide accounting records prepared by a licensed professional.
You can find tips on avoiding this scam and verifying information from the state here. If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, please visit the department’s Verifying Contact page for a verified phone number and contact information.
One-Time Bonus for People Qualifying for Rent or Property Tax Assistance
Older Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvanians with disabilities who qualify for a rebate on rent or property taxes paid in 2021 will receive a one-time bonus equal to 70% of their original rebate amount. The total amount a claimant will receive could be as much as $1,657.50, up from the previous maximum of $975.
Eligible claimants of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program who have already filed an application for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2021 do not need to take any further action. Those who have not yet filed an application are encouraged to do so.
Bonus rebates will start being mailed and sent via direct deposit in early September. The processing of rebates and bonus rebates will continue through the end of the year as additional applications are received.
Read more here.
New App Connects Students Experiencing Homelessness with Resources
A new mobile and desktop app is available to help connect students and families experiencing homelessness with local services and resources.
Users can search for and request assistance with services and resources in their current location, local communities and throughout Pennsylvania to connect them with help.
Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness program has a network of eight regional offices to ensure that the educational needs of students experiencing homelessness are met.
Employers Applaud Action to Expand Jobs in PA
Job creators are taking note of the bipartisan action taken to attract new employment opportunities and residents to Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, business operators and others discussed the changes this week at a gathering in Lancaster.
One of the most significant steps they cited is the phase-down of the job-killing, corporate net income tax (CNIT). Under a provision of the new state budget, the rate will drop to 8.99% in 2023, and then continue to drop until it hits 4.99% in 2031. Once the reduction is fully implemented, Pennsylvania will go from imposing one of the nation’s highest CNIT rates to the eighth lowest in the country.
Other changes made to the state’s tax code will be very helpful for mom-and-pop businesses. More than 99% of Pennsylvania businesses are small businesses, and those 1.1 million small businesses employ 2.5 million people, which is 46.3% of all Pennsylvania employees.
Under the new law, Pennsylvania will recognize “like-kind” exchanges for state tax deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. Federal tax law already allows for the tax deferral on federal taxes, providing some incentive for employers to invest in the job-creating assets businesses need to remain competitive, but Pennsylvania had been the only state not to recognize these exchanges for state tax purposes.
State tax law governing expense deductions is also being changed to bring it in line with federal law, eliminating the unequal treatment of Pennsylvania’s small businesses. The increase in limits will make it easier for employers to buy equipment and to invest, which promotes job growth.
Pennsylvanians need employment opportunities if they are to stay and raise families here. It’s exciting to hear job creators applauding the steps we’ve taken to increase the number of good-paying jobs that support healthy, thriving communities.
Grants Available for Very Small Meat and Poultry Processors
The application period for the Very Small Meat and Poultry Processor Reimbursement Grant Program is open and will run through Sept. 26. The assistance is aimed at increasing locally produced meat and poultry.
The funding can be used for the start-up costs associated with meeting federal inspection and certification guidelines for very small meat processors, defined as entities with sales of less than $2.5 million and fewer than 10 employees.
Applicants can submit their application through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Single Application for Assistance online application system at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us.
Game Commission Seeks Help Counting Wild Turkeys
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is again seeking input from the public in surveying wild turkeys this summer. The Pennsylvania Wild Turkey Sighting Survey is open through Aug. 31.
Participation is important for turkey population management. Survey data allow the agency to determine total wild turkey productivity and compare long-term reproductive success within Pennsylvania and across states, as this is a standard methodology used across the country. Data also are used in the turkey population model to track population trends.
Turkey sightings can be reported through the Game Commission’s website. The mobile app is no longer available.
Application Period Open for Rail Freight Assistance Programs
Pennsylvania ranks first in the country in the number of operating railroads, and state grants are available to support them through investment in rail freight infrastructure.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation operates the Rail Transportation Assistance Program and the Rail Freight Assistance Program. Both programs have become very competitive and not all applications will receive funding.
For eligible organizations wishing to apply for funding through either program, applications will be available on the application website until 4 p.m., Sept 2.
Farmers Markets Mean Fresh, Regional Produce
National Farmers Markets Week is a timely reminder that fresh, regional, summertime produce can be found at area farmers markets.