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Sen. Yudichak Reports

Flood Relief Update

Sen. Yudichak

Sen. Yudichak's remarks on flood relief at a recent event

We are now more than a year removed from the devastating flooding that ravaged our communities after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee and our recovery efforts are still continuing.

One of the most critically important tools in our community’s flood recovery efforts has been the Luzerne County Flood Recovery Loan Program. This program invested more than $1.3 million of state gambling tax local share funding in a revolving loan program for flood recovery. To date, this program has disbursed loans to nearly 20 businesses and helped retain 185 jobs.

The dislocation of businesses and the potential loss of hundreds of jobs are big concerns to our region – which is still struggling through statewide highs in unemployment – and both the new law and loan program certainly helped keep flood affected businesses and good jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

In Harrisburg, we are still awaiting further action on a few pieces of flood relief legislation but we were able to garner very strong bipartisan support for House Bill 1913, which was signed into law in late June.

This new law allows a county assessment office to decrease, credit or refund up to $30,000 in real estate taxes due to a decrease in property value caused by Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.  The new law also created a real estate tax exemption on the assessed value of houses affected by the storms to encourage communities to reconstruct and rebuild flood damaged properties.
 
When the Senate returns to session at the beginning of October, a lot of work on many important issues remains but flood recovery must be a part of our conversation. It is my hope that both chambers and the governor can come to an agreement on a comprehensive flood recovery package of legislation to fast-track the road to recovery and begin to address our long-term infrastructure needs.

Senior FairLuzerne County Senior Fair on October 11

First, I would like to thank all of you that came out to the Carbon County Senior Fair last week. I sincerely enjoyed meeting and talking with many of you from across the district and look forward to seeing you again.

The event was a huge success and that is a credit the many wonderful area vendors that donated their valuable time to set up booths and meet with our seniors.

On October 11, I will host a Luzerne County Senior Fair at the Kingston Armory from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

As anyone that attended the Carbon County Senior Fair can attest, this event will be a great opportunity for seniors to meet and talk with many service providers from across the district as well as across the state.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any state or federal programs or what benefits you may be eligible to receive, I encourage you to come out to the Kingston Armory on October 11.

Operation Gang Up Intiative Continues on September 27

Operation Gang UpI am excited to announce that Congressman Lou Barletta and myself will be hosting the fourth event in our series of community discussions to help combat the dangerous increase in gang activity in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The next event in our Operation Gang Up initiative will take place on Thursday, September 27 at 6:00 p.m. at the Arthur Street Elementary School Auditorium on 424 East Ninth St. in Hazleton.

This event, entitled “Law Enforcement and You: A Community Partnership Against Gangs,” will feature a discussion with panelists: Stephanie Salavantis, Luzerne County District Attorney; Agent Kevin Wevodau and Unit Chief Peter Jurack of the FBI; Detective Chris Orozco, Hazleton Police Department , Trooper Kent Lane of the Pennsylvania State Police; Robert Maguire, Chairman, Lackawanna County Gang Task Force; and Former U.S. Marshal Gary Shovlin. The moderator for the discussion will be Andy Mehalshick of WBRE-TV.

The first three events in the series have attracted more than 650 people who have shown their interest and concern following the release of a major study from the Department of Justice on the growing problem of gangs in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Earlier discussions have focused on what members of the community can do to help battle gang activity, what can be done in area schools combat gang activity and how to begin developing a community action plan against gangs.

PA 529Save for College with PA 529 College Savings Plan

As the tuition costs across the country continue to rise, it is more important than ever for families to start planning for the future and saving money to put their children through college. Opening a PA529 savings account gives families the security of knowing that when it comes time, our sons and daughters will be financially able to follow their dreams.

Throughout the month of September, new enrollees in the PA529 college savings program can enter the code “Yudichak” to waive the $50 enrollment cost.

To open or contribute to an account, visit www.PA529.com or call 1-800-440-4000. The contributions made to PA 529 plans are tax deductible and are state and federal tax exempt when used for qualified education expenses.

PA 529 contributions grow at the rate of tuition inflation -- if a family saves enough for a semester at a state system university today, there will be enough to pay for another semester at the school regardless of future tuition increases.

Facebook Stay Connected

For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook and Twitter.

 
June 22, 2011 - Senate Democrats to Discuss Marcellus Shale Fee Amendment June 26, 2011 - Senate and House Democrats joined today to urge Republican leaders to “do the right thing” and pass a responsible severance fee on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.