Senator Argall E-Newsletter

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In This Email Edition:

  • Busy Days in Berks County
  • Pottsville Adds to its Weapons to Fight Blight
  • 30,000 Pennsylvanians Have NOT Received Unemployment Checks Since March!
  • Democratic Legislators Seek to Ban Fracking
  • Legislation to Study PA COVID-19 Response
  • PHFA Announces Grants for Schuylkill County Housing
  • Deadline to Apply for LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Grants is August 31
  • Be Aware of COVID-19 Scams
  • Reminder: Important 2020 Election Deadlines

Coronavirus Emergency Order Day 149

Busy Days in Berks County 

Congressman Dan Meuser, State Representative Barry Jozwiak (R-Berks), Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach, and I joined NorthPoint officials at a groundbreaking for a one million square foot distribution center located in Berks Park 78, Bethel Township. This facility will provide 400 permanent jobs and 150 immediate construction jobs. Workers will see $12 Million in annual wages at this site. The site will generate more than $16 Million in real estate taxes over the next twenty years. 

I also toured Wolfe Dye & Bleach Work in Shoemakersville, which produces custom dyeing, bleaching, and finishing solutions for large and small companies.

On Tuesday, I was given a tour and train ride on the Reading and Northern Railroad.

On Thursday, I introduced Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Adams & Franklin) at the Westy Bar & Grill in Hamburg to show support for restaurant. Senator Mastriano was a former US Army Colonel, who served in West Germany during the Cold War and saw combat in Operation Desert Storm.

Pottsville Adds to its Weapons to Fight Blight 

The City of Pottsville, like many other cities and towns, has been in a fight against blight in their community. The city recently added provisions to their local nuisance ordinance to address problems with commercial properties. Until recently, their ordinance only addressed residential properties. As Chairman of the Bipartisan Statewide Blight Task Force, it is encouraging to see local leaders take a proactive approach in fighting blight in their communities. Since the inception of the task force in 2007, twelve new laws have been enacted giving local municipalities more tools to address the problem. 

You can read more here.

30,000 Pennsylvanians Have NOT Received Unemployment Checks Since March! 

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has struggled to manage the rise in unemployment claims since the pandemic and lockdown mandates began. More than 30,000 Pennsylvanians have not received a single unemployment check since March, while thousands of others have only received a few checks or payments have been seriously delayed. Rep Jim Cox (R- Berks & Lancaster) said, “We have never seen anything like this.” You can read more here. 

Democratic Legislators Seek to Ban Fracking

Natural gas is a significant part of our state’s economy and has brought many new jobs to Pennsylvania in the past few years. Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), is proposing an amendment to the state constitution to ban fracking throughout PA along with co-sponsor Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks). This would cost the state billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs. You can read more here. 

Legislation to Study PA COVID-19 Response 

Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne, Pike, & Wayne) is developing legislation to create a commission to study the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission will be constituted of those who are part of the response and those who are economically affected by shutdown orders including representatives of state and local governments, the courts, educational institutions, health care and human service providers, the business sector, tourism, agriculture, community and nonprofit organizations and professional groups.

I believe this commission is necessary, so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past if we are faced with a similar crisis in the future.

You can read more here.

PHFA Announces Grants for Schuylkill County Housing

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency announced that four Schuylkill County community grants totaling $252,000 were awarded to fight blight and create more housing options. These tax credits and grants are highly competitive – only first-rate projects that applied received funding.

Funding went to Ashland Borough, Servants to All, Schuylkill County Land Bank, and Schuylkill Community Action. You can read more here.  

Deadline to Apply for LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Grants is August 31

Pennsylvanians who are struggling to pay utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic can still apply for assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Recovery Crisis program. The program offers payments directly to utility companies or fuel providers for renters and homeowners who have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

The program is scheduled to end on August 31. Applications are available online or by contacting your local County Assistance Office.

Be Aware of COVID-19 Scams

The Department of Banking and Securities recently raised concerns about new scams related to COVID-19. Some of the scams involve charitable donations, fraudulent health claims, apps, advance loan fees, foreclosure bailouts and other financial fraud targeting Pennsylvania consumers. More information is available to ensure Pennsylvanians do not fall victim to any of these scams.

State residents can ask questions or file complaints about COVID-19 scams by calling 1-800-722-2657. The department previously offered tips to avoid coronavirus scams in March.

Reminder: Important 2020 Election Deadlines

Although the 2020 general election is still a few months away, it is never too early to register to vote so your voice is heard in November. The deadline to register for the November election is October 19. The graphic above includes several other important deadlines for Pennsylvania voters.

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