In this Update:
Senator Regan Announces School Safety and Security and Mental Health Funding for Local Schools
Following the passage of the state budget, I was pleased to announce that schools in Cumberland and York Counties will receive nearly $8 million in funding for school safety and security and school mental health. School safety has been a top priority of mine since taking office, and I am proud to continue to be the leader on the issue in the Senate, including advocating for increased funding this year.
Our students, teachers, and staff should feel safe at school, and it is incumbent upon us to provide the resources necessary to secure our schools and help students in need. This funding is a critical step in that direction.
Click here to read more and to learn how much each school district will receive.
Regan Supports Senate-passed Constitutional Amendment with Election Reforms
Pennsylvania voters deserve elections that are free, fair, and secure. To ensure election integrity, we must enact commonsense reforms that provide these protections. Voter ID is crucial to fair elections and ensuring that every legal vote counts. I spoke on the floor of the Senate in support of Voter ID and was proud to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment that could ask Pennsylvania voters whether or not Voter ID should be required at every election.
The same language will need to be passed again in the next legislative session in order to ultimately appear on the ballot, as is required for constitutional amendments. However, you may see the question advertised in the newspaper in the coming months, which is also required, even with the first passage of a constitutional amendment.
Regan joins Cumberland County Commissioners for Announcement of First Responder Tax Credit
It takes a special breed of person to run towards danger and serve as a first responder. Most of our firefighters and EMS responders are volunteers and answer calls at all hours of the day to help neighbors in need – on top of full-time jobs and family obligations.
On Tuesday, I joined the County Commissioners and many of our first responders as Cumberland County became the first county in the Commonwealth to adopt a $250 real estate tax credit for firefighters and EMS volunteers. Eight municipalities in Cumberland County also have similar credits. I was proud to support Act 172 of 2016, which authorized this tax credit, and I’m encouraged that Cumberland County has taken this step to offer the credit to our first responders on their county real estate taxes. We owe a great deal to these volunteers for their service, and this tax credit is a small way of recognizing their sacrifices and dedication to their neighbors and communities.
Click here to watch a Facebook video from Tuesday’s event.
PA Fish & Boat and Senator Regan Join as Yellow Breeches Welcomes 36,000 Trout Fingerlings
We are privileged to have some of the finest trout waters in the world right in our backyard. I enjoyed speaking with Tim Schaefer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, as Yellow Breeches Anglers and Conservation (YBAC) in Monroe Township welcomed over 36,000 trout fingerlings to their facility. Over the next year, volunteers from YBAC will feed these trout as they grow and prepare to be released into local waters. Thanks to these volunteers and funds gathered from fishing licenses, children and sportsmen will be able to enjoy trout fishing in our local waters year-round.
Click here to watch highlights from the event and to hear my remarks on this beneficial service from YBAC.
The New State Budget: Clearing Hurdles to Jobs and Opportunity
The new 2022-23 state budget does not include any broad-based tax increases and is structured in a way to minimize the risk of tax increases in the years ahead.
In fact, the budget actually cuts the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate, which is now the highest in the nation. The new budget cuts the rate from 9.99% to 8.99% and creates a phased reduction to 4.99%, or sixth lowest, by 2031.
Not only will a lower rate attract new business, it also makes the state more attractive for businesses that already operate here and need to expand.
The budget also eliminates a disadvantage faced by Pennsylvania small businesses when competing with those in other states. Under federal tax law, a “like-kind” exchange under the Internal Revenue Code allows for tax deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. This long-standing federal provision allows employers to invest in the job-creating assets businesses need to remain competitive. Every state but Pennsylvania provides for a similar deferral on the state level.
The new spending plan also brings state tax law governing expense deductions in line with federal law, eliminating the unequal treatment of small businesses in Pennsylvania. The increase in limits makes it easier for employers to buy equipment and to invest, which promotes job growth.
Additional funding is also included for several tax credit programs that foster economic development in Pennsylvania communities, including Research and Development ($5 million increase), Film Tax Production ($30 million increase), Entertainment Economic Enhancement ($16 million increase) and Waterfront Development ($3.5 million increase).
These changes will make Pennsylvania more competitive with surrounding states and send a strong message to employers that our Commonwealth is open for business.
Deana’s Law Increases Penalties for Repeat DUIs
The Senate recently passed legislation that is now law to increase penalties for multiple DUI offenders.
Act 59 of 2022, Deana’s Law, would require consecutive sentencing, instead of concurrent, for fourth DUIs and above. It would also increase penalties for drivers with multiple DUI convictions involving high blood alcohol content levels.
The law is named after Deana Eckman, 45, who was killed in a 2019 crash involving a six-time DUI offender.
Funding Available for Projects that Promote PA Farm Products
Nonprofits can apply now for grants for projects that promote Pennsylvania farm products and grow export markets.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will award up to $303,000 in matching funds to nonprofits to reimburse up to 50% of costs for promotional and educational projects intended to increase consumer awareness and sales.
Eligible projects in 2022 can promote anything from wine to wool, hardwoods to honey, fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, poultry or dairy — any agricultural product produced in PA.
Complete guidelines for the Pennsylvania Agricultural Product Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant Program are in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Grant applications must be submitted online through the Department of Community and Economic Development Electronic Single Application. Applications are due by Aug. 5.
Accessing Local and County Crime and Crash Data
When crimes and crashes are investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, the statistical data is available online through the Community Access to Information Dashboard (CAID).
CAID allows the public and the media to access and search data collected from traffic enforcement and crashes for both commercial and noncommercial vehicles, including Incident maps. There’s also data concerning various crimes, with mapping for counties and municipalities.
The dashboard allows the user to choose what data is displayed. Searches can be refined with custom date ranges, locations and categories. Queries can be made in the dashboard with statistical information from as far back as 2019. The dashboard contains no information that could be used to identify the individuals involved.
How to Conserve Energy and Manage Summer Power Bills
As hot weather settles in, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) offers tips on conserving energy and keeping summer power bills manageable.
You can find more tips here. For consumers struggling with paying utility bills, the PUC continues to encourage them to call their utilities to discuss the many different affordability options available.