Jun. 21, 2019

Scam Aimed at Recipients of Property Tax/Rent Rebates

 
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue issued a warning about a scam targeting seniors and people with disabilities who receive rebates through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

The scam consists of unsolicited telephone calls from a person claiming to work for the Department of Revenue. After telling the recipient his or her application for the tax or rent rebate has been approved, the caller then offers to have it deposited into the recipient’s bank account.

The Department of Revenue is reminding Pennsylvanians it does not make unsolicited calls requesting banking information and everyone should be extremely cautious when sharing their personal and financial information. If you received one of these scam calls and provided your banking or other personal information, call your bank immediately and report it.

You can also file a scam complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling toll-free 1-800-441-2555 or visit attorneygeneral.gov.
   
 
Increasing Transparency in the State Budget Process

My colleagues and I in the state House this week adopted several measures to bring more transparency to the budget process.

To help limit “supplemental” spending beyond what is approved in each year’s budget, House Bill 855 would require the secretary of the budget to project revenue shortfalls for the fiscal year starting in December and put that amount of money in budgetary reserve to ensure the budget is balanced at the end of the fiscal year. Additionally, House Bill 923 would require the governor to explain the reasons for any supplemental spending requests and offer recommendations for cost-savings or other reforms to address the cause.

Other reform measures would require the administration to provide additional details as part of the governor’s proposed budget (House Bill 922); require quarterly reports on funding committed and awarded through special funds that provide grants and subsidies (House Bill 921); require quarterly reports on funding committed and awarded through special funds that provide grants and subsidies (House Bill 920).

The bills are part of the #GovtDoneRight initiative and now go to the Senate for consideration. To learn more, click here.
                                       
 
Boosting PA Agriculture, Dairy Farmers


The focus on supporting our state’s top industry continued this week with House approval of several bills to help carry on our agriculture traditions for future generations and a Capitol rally in support of two federal bills aimed to boost the dairy industry.

The House gave overwhelming approval to measures that would ensure a quick state-level response to threats such as invasive species or disease; establish the Dairy Investment Program to provide grants to support dairy farmers; create a Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center to help farmers develop a business plan, transition plan or succession plan; enhance youth exposure to opportunities in the agriculture industry; and empower the State Conservation Commission to provide technical assistance and financing options for implementing best management practices.

We also approved bills that would boost enrollment in the veteran farmer Homegrown by Heroes program, provide specialty crop block grants and aid with meat inspection costs for small or new processors.

Also on Tuesday, dairy farmers and advocates from across the Commonwealth gathered in the Capitol rotunda to rally support for two bills pending action in Congress that would help the dairy industry as well as our children.

The “Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019” would allow flavored and unflavored whole milk to be offered in school cafeterias to give students more choice, while the Dairy PRIDE Act would protect the integrity of dairy products by calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enforce existing labeling requirements for milk. Essentially, non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds and plants could no longer be marketed as milk, yogurt or cheese.

The rally followed a meeting of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee in which committee members heard from two members of the state’s congressional delegation about the bills and also unanimously approved resolutions endorsing the measures.
 
 
Fun for All Ages Awaits at PA Fairs


 
Summer has officially arrived, and that means it’s also Pennsylvania fair season.

From June through September, communities across the Commonwealth will host more than 100 fairs featuring food, fun and entertainment as well as competitive exhibits highlighting animals, produce, crops, crafts, baking and more.

To make your fair planning easier, the Department of Agriculture is offering an interactive Fair Guide this year that will allow you to search for your favorite events through the “Find Fairs Near Me” tool or filters that narrow down fairs by county, month or date.

Click here to use the interactive tool.
 
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