|Governor Visits Shamokin; Hears about Benefits of State Investment in Our Communities
I was with Gov. Tom Wolf this week when he visited the City of Shamokin to learn about the way state funds have been used to refurbish run-down and blighted properties, improve the appearance of the community and jumpstart the local economy. I told the governor that communities like Shamokin and others in our district will continue to need the support of state investments to revamp our neighborhoods and promote economic growth.
Help for Lyme Disease Treatment
Pennsylvania has consistently ranked among the highest in the country in confirmed cases of Lyme disease.
To help those affected by this disease and other related tick-borne illnesses, the House Health Committee approved legislation that would require health insurers to cover treatment plans for Lyme disease or related tick-borne illnesses as prescribed by a patient’s health care practitioner, regardless if the treatment plan includes short-term or long-term antibiotic treatment.
Lyme disease can be easily treated with antibiotics when caught and treated early. If untreated, the disease can cause joint swelling, cardiac or neurologic complications. The most severe cases can be debilitating.
House Bill 629 now moves to the full House for consideration.
For more information on the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, and how to protect yourself from tick bites, click here.
Good Money Habits Training Resource for Kids
To help high school and college students make smart money decisions, Pennsylvania is launching a new program called the “FinLit Forum.”
The conference-style program involves multiple state and nonprofit agencies that provide high school and college students with critical financial knowledge to be successful in the next stages of their lives.
The program addresses many “real life” financial issues of young people, including banking basics, introduction to budgeting, understanding credit reports and scores, scams and identity theft, insurance 101, and financial aid.
Learn more here.
Supporting First Responders in PA
With fire and emergency medical service organizations across the state struggling due to a lack of volunteers and financial resources, the House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees held an informational meeting to discuss recommendations put forth late last year to address these challenges.
According to testimony offered at the meeting, the decline of volunteers in fire and EMS services across the state is having a significant impact on municipalities’ ability to reliably and safely provide public safety services to their citizens.
Much of the decline in volunteers can be attributed to societal and economic changes, such as longer working hours and longer commutes. However, lawmakers were encouraged to consider incentives such as tax credits or college loan forgiveness programs to help recruit new volunteers. Affordable and accessible training was also encouraged as a way to remove barriers to volunteering.
These were among more than two dozen broad recommendations offered by the Senate Resolution 6 Commission, which was charged with studying issues such as recruitment and retention, government support, innovation, training and operations, and more.
One of the report’s recommendations, which requires insurers to reimburse ambulance companies for services provided even if no transport takes place, was signed into law last year. Lawmakers plan to build on that success this year as they prepare to introduce legislation implementing some additional recommendations.
View the full report here.
Tax Day Approaching
The Monday, April 15, deadline to file your federal, state and local taxes is fast approaching.
If you received more than $33 in total gross taxable income in calendar year 2018, you must file a Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax return by midnight on April 15.
You can file online for free through PAdirectfile, a secure, state-only electronic income tax filing system by clicking here.
If you want to use an online tax preparing service, Pennsylvania has deals with certain providers for free e-filing. You can learn more about these services by clicking here.
Income tax assistance is available through the department’s Online Customer Service Center, or by calling 717-787-8201 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Pennsylvanians can also visit a Department of Revenue district office for basic state personal income tax filing assistance. Assistance at these offices is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.