Feb. 03, 2017


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News You Can Use


 The latest news from the State Capitol

House Readies for 2017-18 Budget Address

The House and Senate will convene in a joint session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly on Tuesday, Feb. 7, to hear Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal for the third year of his administration.

In a preview of his address, Gov. Wolf has pledged not to ask for an increase in the state’s sales or incomes taxes. He is also seeking to consolidate four state agencies – the departments of Human Services, Health, Aging, and Drug and Alcohol Programs – into one Department of Health and Human Services. Further, the governor announced the closure of one state prison – SCI Pittsburgh in Allegheny County.

Lawmakers will be looking to study the details of such a proposal, along with other ways the state can save taxpayer money and fund core functions of government in the most efficient ways possible.

For the past several years, the House has been able to meet budgetary needs while not relying on increases in broad-based taxes.

To watch the governor’s address live, log onto RepBoback.com beginning at 11:30 a.m. The address is expected to begin closer to noon.
Welcome Dr. Jones!

It was my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Dale Jones, who was recently named chancellor and chief academic officer for Penn State Wilkes-Barre.

Pictured with me are Dr. Jones (left) and outgoing Chancellor Dr. Charles Davis.
Enhancing Educational Opportunities

Legislation to enhance educational opportunities by allowing families to better choose the educational paths for their children has been introduced as House Bill 250.

The legislation would increase the amount of tax credits available under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $50 million (to $175 million) and the amount of tax credits available under the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program by $25 million (to $75 million).

Both programs are proven successes in the ability for private entities to donate toward approved scholarship programs. The EITC Program targets scholarship organizations, educational improvement organizations, and pre-kindergarten scholarship programs, while the OSTC program dedicates tax credits toward businesses that contribute to other scholarship programs.

While the General Assembly constantly seeks to improve academic outcomes for all children, the OSTC program provides critical educational opportunities for students who desperately need the chance to succeed.

The legislation is now with the House Education Committee.
Mobile Vet Unit to Visit Our Area

The Mobile Vet Center will be in the Ace Hardware-Brady and Cavany Store parking lot in Eaton Township on Monday, Feb. 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at the Dallas Shopping Center on Friday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some of the services available for veterans and their dependents include individual, group, family and bereavement counseling; medical referrals; assistance in applying for Veterans Affairs benefits; employment counseling; guidance and referrals; and alcohol and drug assessments.
Registration Open For the 2017 Great American Cleanup Of PA

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful this week announced registration is now open for the 2017 Great American Cleanup of PA which runs from March 1 to May 31. If you or your group want to organize a cleanup, register now and get some free help.

Registered cleanup events can get free trash bags, gloves and safety vests from PennDOT district offices, as supplies last.

Events can be litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, beautification projects, special collections and educational events.

As part of this statewide cleanup event, the Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association are sponsoring Let’s Pick It Up PA – Everyday from April 18 through May 8. During this time, trash collected at registered events can be taken to participating landfills for free or reduced cost disposal with prior approval.

All 67 counties in Pennsylvania were represented in the 2016 Great American Cleanup of PA. In total, there were 6,118 events with 158,821 volunteers. Volunteers collected 5 million pounds of trash. They cleaned over 11,000 miles of roads, railroad tracks, trails, waterways and shorelines. Volunteers also planted 15,465 trees, bulbs and shrubs in an effort to keep Pennsylvania beautiful.

Help make your community clean and beautiful and register an event at the Great American Cleanup of PA website.
Tax Refunds Can Help Families Save for College

Pennsylvania taxpayers can deposit their state income tax refund directly into an existing, tax-exempt Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program account. With the new option, all or a portion of a refund can be sent to one or multiple accounts.

When a taxpayer completes the PA-40, Personal Income Tax Return, he or she should enter code “H” and the amount in the donation section between lines 32-36. Additionally, a taxpayer can submit a PA-Schedule P with the return when donating to one or more Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program accounts. More information is available in the 2016 PA-40, Personal Income Tax Return Instructions.

Pennsylvanians can open an account with as little as $15 or $25 depending on plan selection. Contributions are tax exempt, and when using plan withdrawals for qualified educational expenses, they are not subject to tax.

More than 200,000 people are currently saving more than $4 billion in the PA 529 College Savings Program, which provides two ways to save: the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP). The primary difference is the way the savings grow in each account.

Visit PA529.com or call (800) 440-4000 to open or contribute to a PA 529 account.
PennDOT’s 2017 Summer Employment Program

PennDOT is sponsoring an extensive Summer Employment Program (SEP) which includes government services interns. The program runs April through August to supplement the permanent workforce.

The government services interns are used primarily for summer maintenance and sign upgrade services, and they perform laboring duties in maintenance organizations as well as worksites along the highway.

To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be enrolled as a full-time college student for fall 2017 and have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license. The hourly rate is $12.97.

If interested, apply online at employment.pa.gov under the “Summer Employment Positions” category. The technical support line is 717-787-5703.

The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 10.
Discussion Underway for Concealed Carry Seminar Luzerne County

I have offered 13 concealed carry seminars over the past few years in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties.

We often hear from constituents who are interested in additional seminars, and I would like to gauge the demand for another concealed carry seminar in Luzerne County. Please call my Dallas district office at 570-675-6000 to express your interest. I will schedule a seminar if it becomes apparent there will be adequate participation.
Dozens of Helpful Resources Offered at My District Offices

My district offices offer numerous helpful resources available for your use. Including:

• Pennsylvania’s Yellow Dot Program
• PACE and PACENET applications
• Health Records Wallet-size cards
• Area Agency on Aging Information
• Childhood Immunization: An information guide for parents
• “Play It Safe: Protect Yourself from Con Artists”
• A guide to making your home child safe
• North Penn Legal Services contact information
• Dog license applications
• Pennsylvania: A poster you can color

This is just a sampling of the many resources we offer in my offices. Please stop by to see what useful information we can provide for you.

Our District

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Office Locations
1108 Twin Stacks Drive, Dallas PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 East Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657| Phone: (570) 836-4777
314-C Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117
Email: kboback@pahousegop.com