Senator Aument E-Newsletter

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Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 36th Senatorial District and look forward to working with you toward building a stronger Pennsylvania. This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout  Lancaster County and what I am doing as your State Senator in Harrisburg – I hope that you find it helpful! Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please DO NOT reply to this email; instead, please feel free to contact me here.


In this Update:

  • Join My Telephone Town Hall on Feb. 27
  • Shapiro Provides No Plan to Ensure Reliable, Affordable Energy
  • Senate Begins Review of Proposed State Budget
  • Thanks to Local Firefighters for Bravery Amidst Devastating Fires Last Week
  • Connecting with Leadership Lancaster’s 2024 Core Class
  • New Fitness Opportunities in Lancaster County
  • Happy Golden Anniversary to Local Couple
  • Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info
  • Help is Available for Struggling Veterans
  • Mental Health Treatment is Available for Farmers
  • Recognizing National FFA Week

Join My Telephone Town Hall on Feb. 27

I will answer questions and listen to feedback from community residents during a live telephone town hall on Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Community residents can register to participate in the tele-town hall here. This link can also be used for audio streaming, which will be available immediately prior to the event.

During the tele-town hall, participants can ask questions or simply remain on the line to listen to the discussion. Your feedback is important to me, and I look forward to hearing from you next Tuesday!

Shapiro Provides No Plan to Ensure Reliable, Affordable Energy

Notably missing from Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal is a comprehensive energy roadmap for Pennsylvania to address an impending energy shortage. With demand for energy consumption increasing and supply decreasing as we prematurely retire power plants that our grid needs to meet that demand, these consequences could become reality in a decade or less.

I’m disappointed the governor didn’t prioritize this issue in his budget so that we can work collaboratively to address the reliability and affordability of our energy grid so our constituents can have uninterrupted and unrestricted access to power in their homes and businesses.

Learn more here.

Senate Begins Review of Proposed State Budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee began public hearings this week on the proposed 2024-25 state budget.

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget plan would increase state spending by more than $3.2 billion, or about 7.1% above the current year’s budget. Projections indicate it will be all but impossible to balance budgets in the next five years without deep spending cuts and massive tax increases.

Among the highlights:

At the Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Parole Board budget hearing, the committee sought an explanation for Shapiro’s new funding for the department totaling $229 million, which is $74 million more than the department requested. This followed the department overspending its 2023-24 budget by $100 million. The need to curb excessive spending on overtime was also discussed.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) budget hearing included questions about how the new governance model for PASSHE and community colleges would be structured and when the transition would happen. Unfortunately, very little information was available. PASSHE’s chancellor was not included in the work group planning the merger, which caused concerns.

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) hearing focused on the commonwealth’s ongoing structural deficit and future financial standing. The IFO’s projected revenues for 2024-25 are $825 million lower than those from the Shapiro administration. Additionally, the IFO director projected the current fund balance and Rainy Day Fund – the state’s emergency savings account – would both run out in 2026-27 under the governor’s budget.

At the Department of Community and Economic Development budget hearing, the committee asked about the negative impacts of Pennsylvania’s burdensome permit process and tax penalties on startup businesses that don’t turn an immediate profit. Members also discussed the governor’s Main Street Matters program, which he wants to fund at more than four times the amount of a similar program that already exists.

Find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps, and video from prior hearings here.

Thanks to Local Firefighters for Bravery Amidst Devastating Fires Last Week

I want to take a brief moment to recognize the heroic efforts of our local firefighters in the wake of some devastating fires across the county last week. Incidents at Martin’s Country Market and an apartment above the Bausman post office, while tragic, were handled with bravery and professionalism by responding fire stations. Thank you to all who serve and protect our communities!

Connecting with Leadership Lancaster’s 2024 Core Class 

It was an honor to join Elizabethtown Borough manager Ann Roda, Commissioner Alice Yoder, and Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El for a Governance and Lancaster County Panel Discussion as part of Leadership Lancaster Core Class 2024’s Public Policy and Economic Development Session. 
We discussed forming opinions on policy, our decision-making process, and some of the most important issues facing our community today. I enjoyed the terrific dialogue with Core Class members. 

For more photos from the class, check out my Instagram post here

New Fitness Opportunities in Lancaster County

Planet Fitness is expanding its reach in Lancaster County and recently held two ribbon cutting ceremonies for properties in Elizabethtown and Lancaster. They’ve also been gracious enough to donate money back into those communities for the Community Cupboard of Elizabethtown and the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster.

For more photos of ribbon cutting and donation check presentation ceremonies, check out my Instagram post here.

Happy Golden Anniversary to Local Couple

It was an honor to wish Jim and Kathy Kiefer a very happy 50th anniversary. Kathy worked for me 15 years ago in the Clerk of Courts Office, and Jim is the president of the Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company. They were blessed with two children and three grandchildren.

Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding free webinars to assist college-bound students and their families with navigating the financial aid process.

Speakers will discuss planning for higher education financing, comparing financial aid offers and understanding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Register to attend the one-hour webinars, which run through July.

Help is Available for Struggling Veterans

Like anyone, veterans and their families can face unexpected circumstances that impose financial burdens. To help veterans who are facing challenging times, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs administers the Veterans Temporary Assistance (VTA) Program.

The VTA provides temporary financial assistance of up to $1,600 in a 12-month period to veterans or their surviving spouses who reside in Pennsylvania for food, shelter, fuel, and clothing.

Learn more about how to qualify and apply.

Mental Health Treatment is Available for Farmers

Pennsylvania farmers and farm families live a stressful way of life, often filled with uncertainty. Rural areas have fewer therapists, and the work on a farm never stops.

While the circumstances farmers experience are unique, there is help available for those dealing with loneliness, sadness, stress, or depression.

Professional treatment for mental health is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the free AgriStress HelpLine. Call or text a health care professional at 833-897-2474.

Recognizing National FFA Week

As agriculture is one of Pennsylvania’s top industries, it is important to recognize National FFA Week, which runs from Feb. 17-24.

Farmers work hard so we can enjoy fresh, local fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, and milk. They help to reduce our dependence on other countries for our food supply, so we don’t need to worry about being able to put food on the table.

A group of young farmers founded FFA in 1928, and the organization continues to play an important role in attracting future generations. After all, agriculture is more than planting and harvesting – it involves science, business, and more.


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