In This Update:
Senator Martin’s Response to Governor’s Budget Plan of Massive Spending and Tax Increases
Governor Wolf unveiled a $40.2 billion spending plan for 2021-22 this week that includes more than $3 billion in new government spending – which would be the largest spending increase in the state’s history. The governor’s plan also includes an increase in the Personal Income Tax that would boost the amount of state tax taken out of every Pennsylvanian’s paycheck by 46 percent, as well as another new tax on natural gas that would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher energy bills.
The new taxes and spending are primarily to support education, workforce development and other programs. State lawmakers have made significant progress on all these issues in recent years, and I am confident we can support our schools, boost job training, expand internet service to underserved areas and meet the other needs of our communities without resorting to the massive new spending and taxes Governor Wolf is advocating. You can read about my thoughts and response to the Governor’s proposed budget here.
Secretary of State Resigns After Critical Error on Constitutional Amendment
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced this week that she would resign following news that she neglected to advertise a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would have allowed victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits against their attackers, even if the statute of limitations had expired.
As a result of the department’s failure to perform the simple task of advertising this amendment, victims could now have to wait an additional two years to have their day in court. This is a completely unacceptable result for victims who have already endured so much, and lawmakers must investigate further to determine how the Wolf Administration botched this simple process so badly.
This embarrassing error is the latest in a string of questionable actions taken by Secretary Boockvar that have damaged our Commonwealth. I am hopeful that Governor Wolf will nominate a qualified, capable, and nonpartisan individual to lead the Department of State in the future.
Senator Martin hires Cindy Urban as the new Education Executive Director
It has been a true honor to be named the Senate Education Chairman, a committee that is responsible for considering issues and legislation related to Pennsylvania’s education system, including school safety, funding issues and post-secondary opportunities for students.
Last week I announced that a former Lancaster County teacher and well-respected Senate staff member, Cindy Urban will serve as Executive Director of the committee in the upcoming session. Cindy brings with her experience from the classroom and working in the Senate and I look forward to having her to bring her knowledge and background to the Senate Education Committee.
Resources Available to Answer Unemployment Claimants’ Year-End Tax Questions
Unemployment claimants who have year-end tax questions can find answers through a new Frequently Asked Questions page developed by Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity’s office. The page includes information on what claimants should do if they have not received their 1099G, how to dispute the amount reported on a 1099G form, and what Pennsylvanians should do if they receive a 1099G because they were a victim of fraud or identity theft, among other topics.
Information is also available on how state residents can report identity theft and fraud related to unemployment benefits, as well as how Treasury can provide evidence that fraud has taken place so victims of these crimes can resolve the issue. The Department of Labor and Industry also has its own FAQ page that covers questions about how to obtain forms, report fraudulent activity and more.
New Fraud Attempts Target Social Media Users
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is urging social media users to be on the lookout for fraud attempts involving fake Facebook pages and profiles. By creating fake pages and social media profiles posing as department employees, criminals can attempt to obtain the personal information of Pennsylvanians.
A few helpful reminders:
If you have a question pertaining to unemployment benefits, the contact information for the Department of Labor and Industry is:
2021 Trout Stocking Schedule Available Now
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently announced its 2021 trout stocking schedule for all Pennsylvania waterways. This year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission plans to stock approximately 3.2 million trout in 701 streams and 128 lakes open to public angling.
Trout season will officially open on April 3, following a single statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day on March 27.
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