Senator John R. Gordner E-Newsletter

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Senate Passes Package of “Farming First” Bills to Support PA Agriculture

Agriculture is the backbone of Pennsylvania’s economy and an important part of our heritage. The Senate approved seven bills this week that will support our farmers and help future generations of leaders in agriculture get started in the industry.

The Farming First package includes bills that will help landowners transfer property to beginning farmers; give farmers more flexibility in how they manage their land; ease transportation restrictions on large farm equipment and exempt milk haulers from weather-related travel bans; give farmers more options to generate revenue through agritourism and agritainment activities; and bring together leaders in agriculture to explore new ways to address financial challenges in Pennsylvania’s dairy industry.

More details about the package of agriculture bills is available here.

The bills in the Farming First package are a continuation of the ongoing efforts to support Pennsylvania farmers. A new Pennsylvania Dairy Industry Investment Program was created to improve the production, processing and distribution of dairy products throughout the state.

In recent years, the General Assembly has also restored a cumulative total of $15 million in proposed cuts to agricultural programs in the state budget.

State Revenue Picture

State revenues continue to outperform projections for the 2018-19 Fiscal Year.  Through April, we are $828.5 million above estimate for the year with two months remaining in the fiscal year.  Strong economic policies championed by the Senate Republican Caucus have helped pave the way for a strong state economy.

Robust collections in corporate net income tax, sales and use tax and an unexpected boon in personal income tax revenues due to changes in the federal tax law leave the Commonwealth on strong footing heading into the next fiscal year.  It is our hope to use these extra funds to begin the process of replenishing the state’s savings account (also known as the “Rainy Day Fund”), which will boost our creditworthiness with ratings agencies and protect us against any future economic downturns.

I was pleased to recently announce a significant flood grant for Columbia County with Rep. Millard and the Columbia County Commissioners.

Spring Showers Bring Thoughts of Floods and Insurance

Spring showers bring thoughts of flood insurance, according to the Pennsylvania Department of InsuranceFlooding is the most frequent and damaging natural disaster occurring in Pennsylvania and is typically not covered by homeowners or renter’s insurance.

When choosing between the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), licensed insurance companies, and surplus lines, note that switching from NFIP to private flood insurance could trigger a premium increase if the choice is made to return to NFIP coverage.  Private flood insurance may also preclude you from certain hazard mitigation grant programs if your property is located in a flood prone area.

Interested homeowners are encouraged to complete and submit an application for flood insurance as soon as possible, keeping in mind there is a waiting period for approval.  Contact the NFIP Help Center at 800-427-4661 for further assistance.

Road Construction Season is Underway in PA

Motorists are encouraged to consult the list of current PA Department of Transportation road, highway, and bridge construction projects during road construction season

Open the 511PA maps legend and select “Active Roadwork”.  Locate and click on any construction symbols you may encounter for confirmation of effected roadway and pinpoint details allowing you to plan for the delay or choose an alternate route.  Confirm any potential delays due to heavy traffic (red) or stop and go (black) patterns of travel. 

Morning, noon, or the middle of the night, 511PA reflects up-to-date information on traffic delays, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and more than 860 traffic cameras.  Additional details on projects are available by clicking on the Regional Offices map and selecting one of the eight regions.


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