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In this email update:
Providing property tax relief for homeowners
As many of you already know, school property tax elimination is not only my #1 priority, but it is the #1 issue I hear most about from residents not only in Berks and Schuylkill Counties, but across Pennsylvania.
This November election, Pennsylvania voters will have the ability to help us move closer to providing a way to eliminate residential school property taxes through a homestead exemption.
The proposed constitutional amendment, as laid out in House Bill 1285, would permit the General Assembly to enact legislation to expand the current homestead exclusion.
The question which will appear on the November ballot states:
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to permit the General Assembly to enact legislation authorizing local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property within a local taxing jurisdiction, rather than limit the exclusion to one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property, which is the existing law?
I do believe that when this referendum passes, it will help us obtain the House and Senate votes that we finally need to amend and pass SB 76.
Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) recently made a great case in support of this initiative that will help to provide significant property tax relief for Pennsylvania’s homeowners. You can watch his comments here.
Stay tuned for more information next week on this initiative!
Discussing state issues at the PHIA Transportation Conference
This past Tuesday, I attended the PA Highway Information Association’s (PHIA) Transportation Conference.
During this conference, I discussed a bill that I introduced with Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks), Senate Bill 172, which establishes a three-year pilot program for PennDOT to utilize speed cameras in active work zones on limited access highways.
The goal of this bill is to save lives by reducing the significant numbers of accidents and fatalities that have occurred on our highways due to reckless driving and speeding.
I shared with members of the PHIA, the startling statistics regarding the number of crashes and fatalities that have occurred in work zones.
In 2015, there were 1,935 crashes in work zones, including 23 deaths, across Pennsylvania. According to data from PennDOT, in 2016, there were 2,075 crashes and 16 fatalities that occurred within work zones.
The Reading Eagle published an article in 2014 citing that, according to data from PennDOT, PA ranked 4th in construction and work zone fatalities in 2013.
Other topics that I shared with members at the conference included updates on the state budget and transportation funding issues.
“Over the Edge” event for the Bethany Children’s Home
As part of a fundraising and awareness campaign, Bethany Children’s Home invited me to go “Over the Edge” this past Friday to help children who have suffered traumatic events and build important skills for the future.
The fundraising event includes rappelling 5 stories down the side of 525 Student Apartments, located on Lancaster Avenue in Reading, which you can see me doing below.
Since its establishment in Womelsdorf in 1863, Bethany Children’s Home has been committed to helping families and children who have experienced trauma in their lives.
The funds raised through this event will help benefit the organization’s mission of building skillsets for children through art, music, recreation and academic enrichment therapy programs.
Congratulations to Bethany Children’s Home and all those involved in making this a successful event!
You can read more about Bethany Children’s Home here.
Vietnam Veterans Pinning Ceremony
On Tuesday, Vietnam Veterans were recognized at the Schuylkill County Courthouse in Pottsville.
This ceremony was to honor and recognize Schuylkill County Vietnam Veterans for their courage and sacrifice in defending our country’s freedoms and liberties.
The event was led by Col. Bob DeSousa, who serves as U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s State Director. During the ceremony, each veteran received a special commemorative pin on behalf of Senator Toomey.
Thank you again to all of our courageous men and women who have fought, and continue to fight, for our country!
Berks County Heritage Festival
On Sunday, October 1, the 36th Annual Heritage Festival will take place at the Berks County Heritage Center from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
This festival event will celebrate the rich history and heritage of Berks County. The festival will feature several activities for everyone to enjoy such as demonstrations, music, arts and crafts and lectures.
Hope to see you there!
For more information about the festival, click here.
NEPA Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program
The NEPA Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program begins this fall at the Schuylkill Technology Center in Frackville.
Through the partnership of the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce and Pennsylvania CareerLink, the NEPA Pre-Apprenticeship program is a regional program that is designed to provide individuals with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to pursue careers in the manufacturing and building trades industry.
Some of the training courses that individuals will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge on includes: work readiness; workplace safety; ladder safety; and basic construction readiness.
For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, please contact Amanda Daynorowicz at PA CareerLink Schuylkill County by calling 570-622-5253 ext. 111 or Dayna Fesko at ext. 113.
Horse and Buggy Driver’s Manual
Whether leaf peeping on backroads or commuting to work, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is reminding motorists they may encounter a horse and buggy.
Do you understand the basic rules of safety for such an encounter? Courtesy, conduct, signage, harnesses, lighting, pedestrians, bicycles, and much more bear legal consideration when meeting a horse and buggy along the way.
The Horse and Buggy Driver’s Manual can help you understand and anticipate the horse and buggy operator’s intentions.