Senator Ryan 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.

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In this Update:

  • The New State Budget: Clearing Hurdles to Jobs and Opportunity
  • Deana’s Law Increases Penalties for Repeat DUIs
  • Funding Available for Projects that Promote PA Farm Products
  • Sign Up to Receive Veteran-Specific Updates
  • Local Organization Focuses on Helping Veterans & Persons with Disabilities Live Fuller Lives with the Help of Service Dogs
  • Accessing Local and County Crime and Crash Data
  • How to Conserve Energy and Manage Summer Power Bills
  • Celebrating Parks and Recreational Opportunities

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.

Sign Up to Receive Veteran-Specific Updates

Each month, I send email updates about important programs to support veterans, financial benefits, and other information veterans and their loved ones may find helpful.

It’s simple to receive these updates directly by subscribing to my veteran-specific email list here. Without signing up, you will not receive this monthly communication.

Local Organization Focuses on Helping Veterans & Persons with Disabilities Live Fuller Lives with the Help of Service Dogs

I recently had the opportunity to tour the Lancaster location of United Disabilities Services (UDS), a nonprofit organization with more than 55 years of experience developing a wide variety of services and programs that improve the quality of life and expand boundaries for people with disabilities. They offer the most comprehensive and wide-ranging services available to support people who are living with disabilities, who are aging, or who are recovering from an injury.

The UDS team works reliably and tirelessly to ensure UDS participants and their loved ones can live their best lives. UDS service dogs are trained from pups for more than two years by a team of dedicated volunteers and professionals. Then, they’re partnered with people who have a mobility or other disability to help them live fuller lives.

UDS is starting a new service dog pilot program specific to veterans in the near future. If you are a veteran or know a veteran who could potentially benefit from a service dog, please contact UDS’s Lancaster location (2270 Erin Ct, Lancaster, PA 17601) at (888) 837-4235 for more details about the program.

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.

  • Check your thermostat. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill.
  • Clean and replace air conditioner filters regularly and make sure air circulation paths are clear.
  • Turn off non-essential appliances and lights to reduce power use and unwanted heat.
  • Close off unused rooms and adjust air vents or thermostats to avoid unnecessary cooling expenses.
  • Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.

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.

Celebrating Parks and Recreational Opportunities

Parks and recreational opportunities are key components of healthy communities. I hope you get to enjoy the great outdoors this summer.

The new state budget includes $56 million in state funds to create a new State Parks and Forests Infrastructure Program and $100 million in federal funding for state parks and outdoor recreation.

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