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Senate Finance Committee Examines Purely Public Charities Proposal
Over the past several weeks, my proposal to clarify the role of the General Assembly in determining what constitutes a purely public charity has generated a great deal of discussion.
Throughout the debate, my position has remained consistent; the legislature should have the exclusive right to set the parameters for an organization to be considered a purely public charity. Allowing the courts to resort to an outdated and ambiguous definition will only expose charities and municipalities to expensive litigation that does not serve the public interest.
As the Senate prepares to take action on my proposal in the coming weeks, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Wednesday designed to open a dialogue on how purely public charities should be defined. The hearing allowed a number of interested parties to provide input on the benefits and consequences of the current law and offer suggestions on how these standards could be strengthened or improved, and I appreciate all of the individuals and organizations who took the time to make their voices heard on this issue.
Meeting with Local Students
Mid-Year Budget Update Shows Modest Revenue Growth
The Independent Fiscal Office recently released its mid-year update of revenue estimates for fiscal year 2014-15. The report offers a slightly rosier financial picture than was previously projected, but significant hurdles still remain in creating a balanced spending plan for next year.
The revised revenue estimate is $30.207 billion, which is $250 million higher than the estimate published by the IFO at the beginning of the fiscal year and $26 million higher than the official estimate recertified by the governor in September.
In addition, the report included a brief economic section that discusses the outlook for the labor market, income growth and consumer spending. The entire report is available online at www.ifo.state.pa.us.
Heating Assistance Applications Available Now
For many families in our region, energy costs during the coldest months of the year are a pressing concern.
Pennsylvanians who have a heating emergency or are struggling to pay utility bills can apply for assistance through the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
LIHEAP provides grants of up to $1,000 to help low-income families pay heating bills. Crisis grants are also available for heating emergencies such as a broken furnace, utility termination or fuel shortage. Eligibility and grant amounts are based on income and the number of people living in a household. The program will remain open until April 3.
Applications for LIHEAP can be completed online on the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website at
www.compass.state.pa.us. Additional information about the program is
available online at
Senate Box 203036