In this update:
Governor Shapiro Visits Tamaqua for Major Jobs Announcement
New, high-paying jobs are coming to Schuylkill County. Rep. Jamie Barton, Commissioner Gary Hess and I joined Governor Josh Shapiro this week as EMD Electronics announced the expansion of the world’s largest integrated specialty gas facility in Rush Township.
This is a BIG deal for northeast Pennsylvania!
Today marked the first visit by a governor to the Tamaqua area since Governor Mark Schweiker joined me in 2002 to announce the creation of Lehigh Carbon Community College’s Morgan Center.
Here’s what the governor had to say: “I want you to understand that while the governor gets to stand up here and make announcements like this, it is nearly every time a result of Democrats and Republicans, legislators and a governor coming together and doing what’s right by a community. And you have an outstanding state senator who I’ve had the opportunity to work with over many years, Dave Argall, who is here and has been a great supporter of initiatives like this not just here in Schuylkill County, but across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and so Senator Argall I would like to thank you for your leadership here every day.”
State Grant Supports Plan for New Fire Station in Bowmanstown
Bowmanstown Volunteer Fire Company was awarded a state grant for $925,000 to support their plans to build a new fire station. Replacing the current fire station, which was constructed in the 1940s and needs significant renovations, has been a goal of the fire company for many years.
Much credit is due to Rep. Doyle Heffley, who worked with the fire company to bring this grant to Carbon County. I’m pleased to see this highly competitive state funding supporting the efforts of our brave local first responders to keep us safe.
Keystone Job Corps Center: Career Training in Luzerne County
I was recently invited to tour the Keystone Job Corps Center north of Hazleton with Rep. Mike Cabell and Rep. Dane Watro. We picked a good day to visit – with the weather warming up, many students were outside working on hands-on projects.
The center offers training for jobs in the construction, healthcare, and hospitality industries. Having valuable training programs like this one close to home is key to encouraging more young people to build a career and a life here in northeast PA, while also ensuring local employers can find enough well-trained employees. Thank you for showing us around!
Senate Concludes State Budget Hearings
The Senate Appropriations Committee finished three weeks of public hearings about the proposed 2023-24 state budget this week.
Governor Josh Shapiro proposed a $45.8 billion budget that would increase spending by $1.3 billion and all but deplete the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years.
Workforce issues, the state’s tax structure and the need to help businesses grow and stay in Pennsylvania drove the conversation during the Department of Community and Economic Development hearing.
The Department of Corrections/Pennsylvania Parole Board hearing covered the state’s recidivism rate and declining inmate population. The costs associated with the 750 vacancies in the Department of Corrections – which results in increased use of overtime – and efforts to protect inmates from human trafficking were also discussed.
Questions about how the Department of Human Services is handling reduced federal emergency funding were raised during the hearing. The conversation also covered the Shapiro Administration’s request for state taxpayers to backfill millions of dollars cut by the Biden Administration.
Mahanoy City Wins Award for Responding to Adversity
The Borough of Mahanoy City was recognized with the Responding to Adversity award at the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence in Harrisburg this week.
Earlier this year, the borough left the Act 47 program for distressed municipalities after making drastic improvements to their operations and improving their financial situation.
When I first joined the PA Senate, one of the decisions awaiting me was if I should maintain the downtown office there established by Senator Jim Rhoades. I agreed to keep the office there as one small step in aiding the town’s efforts to get back on its feet. I’ve never regretted that decision.
Congrats to everyone who made this day possible!
State Grant Awarded to Improve Foster Township Municipal Building
Luzerne County’s Foster Township was recently awarded a state grant for over $100,000 to renovate their municipal building and garage. Funds will be used to repair deteriorated walls and mold damage and make electrical and mechanical upgrades to the garage.
Rep. Mike Cabell and I supported this project and worked to secure this highly competitive funding because it was one of the top priorities for the township, as I learned when I met with them at their Upper Lehigh playground last year near Freeland. Joining me at that time were Solicitor Don Karpowich and Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Wilson Malloy.
Foster Township has faced some difficult economic times since my Great Grandmother Howells lived there in the 1800s. Updating the building will allow Foster Township to better support our constituents.
Safely Dispose of Unused Prescriptions on April 22
Conveniently remove opioids and other unused medicines from your home on Saturday, April 22, as part of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
More than 13 tons of prescription drugs were disposed of across Pennsylvania in the Prescription Drug Take Back Day held last October.
Find a location to safely dispose of unused drugs here.
State Grant Deadline is May 1 for PA College Students
The deadline for students and families to submit their applications for the 2023-24 Pennsylvania State Grant program is May 1. This deadline applies to all renewal applicants and first-time applicants who plan to enroll in a degree program or other college or university (excluding community colleges).
To apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant, applicants must first complete the 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applicants can access the FAFSA online at www.PHEAA.org/FAFSA or www.fafsa.gov. Completing the FAFSA online saves time and reduces application and processing errors.
Students and families with questions about the FAFSA or the State Grant Program can call 800-692-7392 for personal assistance.
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