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Salisbury: More than $5 million in new funding and tax credits awarded to support affordable housing in Homewood, Wilkinsburg

(1 day ago)

BRADDOCK, July 16 – Combined tax credits and funding of more than $5 million will support work on two major housing projects in Homewood and Wilkinsburg, state Rep. Abigail Salisbury announced today. “Stability, security, easier access to jobs and community programs – all depend on the availability of affordable housing,” said Salisbury, D-Allegheny. “I’m excited about the new funding and reservation of tax credits to leverage investments in these projects because they are going to connect more residents with safe new living spaces and the benefits that go along with that.” Salisbury said the details of the projects and funding, awarded through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency are as follows: North Homewood development , 7206 Tioga St: Construction of one four-story, 79,478-square-foot, general occupancy building that will include 21 one-bedroom units, 22 two-bedroom units, and 15 three-bedroom units, including nine accessible units. The project is supported by conditional reservation of $1.43 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits, plus an additional $1 million in Pennsylvania Housing Tax Credits and $750,000 in National Housing Trust Fund funds. Legacy Wilkinsburg development , Hunter Street: Construction of four general occupancy two- to three-story buildings totaling 49,075 square feet that will include eight one-bedroom units, 22 two-bedroom units, and eight three-bedroom Read more

Governor signs Venkat, Scott bill requiring insurers to provide fairer reimbursement practices for health care providers

(1 day ago)

HARRISBURG, July 16 – Health care providers will no longer be forced to shoulder credit card transaction fees just to receive reimbursement for their services, thanks to a newly signed law introduced by Reps. Arvind Venkat and Greg Scott that requires insurers to offer providers a variety of different reimbursement options. Act 58 of 2024 , signed yesterday by Gov. Josh Shapiro, provides that insurers may no longer limit reimbursement methods exclusively to electronic credit cards – which often carry high transaction fees – and must instead offer a variety of reimbursement options so providers can choose the method best suited to them. “No one should have to pay a fee just to be reimbursed for their services, but this has been the reality for many health care providers, who have been forced to accept insurer reimbursement payments through electronic credit cards that often carry transaction fees,” said Venkat, D-Allegheny. “It’s an unfair practice that prevents providers from receiving full compensation and penalizes patients, as well, when those costs are passed along as increased rates. “Under the new law, insurers may no longer limit reimbursement to being provided by electronic credit cards, but must offer health care providers a choice as to how they wish to be reimbursed. It’s time to make this aspect of health care fairer for providers and more cost-efficient for Read more

Gergely votes ‘yes’ on new state budget, citing strong investment in state’s public schools

(Jul 15, 2024)

HARRISBURG, July 15 – State Rep. Matthew R. Gergely issued the following statement after voting Thursday to pass the 2024-25 Pennsylvania budget: “I was proud to cast a “yes” vote for the new state budget, which includes investments that can make a dramatic difference for our public schools. For far too long, our students have been forced to compete on an uneven playing field because of a flawed system that gives students in wealthier districts an unfair advantage. “The quality of a student’s education should never, ever depend on the wealth of their ZIP code. The new state budget allocates $1.3 billion in funding to all students, plus additional funding of more than half a billion dollars to level the playing field for students in chronically underfunded school districts, including many of our own. The plan is a promising step on the road to bringing the equality in public education we have sadly lacked for too long. “The new budget will also help us reform cyber charter funding so that these schools do not drain resources away from our brick-and-mortar schools. “The new plan also invests in ways that will help make higher education more affordable for students. Pennsylvania is nearly last in the country when it comes to funding for our state colleges and universities – a situation that has discouraged many students from attending and forced others to begin their careers with heavy Read more

Salisbury votes ‘yes’ on 2024-25 state budget, says plan will bring powerful change to public education funding, boost affordable housing

(Jul 12, 2024)

HARRISBURG, July 12 – State Rep. Abigail Salisbury cast a “yes” vote Thursday for Pennsylvania’s new $47.6 billion spending plan, saying it will dramatically change the way the state funds its public schools while also bolstering important resources like affordable housing. “The new budget invests $1.3 billion for public education and more than $500 million to address the deficit caused by chronic underfunding of districts, including many schools in our own district,” Salisbury said. “With those investments, we can finally begin to change the dynamic for millions of students who have faced a disadvantage from the moment they set foot in the classroom. The new plan will allow us to start leveling the playing field for those students while also offsetting rising property taxes – all without taking funding away from any other school district. “Critically, the new plan addresses the damaging impact cyber charters have had on our public school budgets by changing the way those charter schools are funded and returning more of that funding back to our brick-and-mortar schools. “The budget also invests in ways to make higher education more affordable for students – a commitment that’s critical if we’re going to encourage new generations of young adults to stay, build lives in the state and contribute back to the economy. Right now, our students carry the third-highest debt Read more

Kinkead community college credit transfer bill heads to governor’s desk

(Jul 12, 2024)

Legislation creating affordable pathways to four-year degrees clears state House and Senate Read more

Venkat casts ‘yes’ vote for 2024-25 budget

(Jul 12, 2024)

HARRISBURG, July 12 – State Rep. Arvind Venkat issued the following statement regarding his support for the new Pennsylvania state budget. “I was happy to vote for the new state budget, which makes a $1.3 billion investment in our public schools and will make a positive difference for communities in Allegheny County and in the North Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh. “The new budget invests money in our Avonworth, Hampton and North Allegheny school districts; bolsters resources for first responders, police, fire and EMS workers; and will help ensure that hospitals are able to stay open and that no one will go bankrupt from receiving health care. “As your state representative, I am focused on making health care more affordable and accessible, investing in public schools and first responders, and making sure our economic environment is thriving. The new budget promises to advance those goals. It also addresses the needs of small businesses and working families through provisions that will allow businesses to deduct net operating losses and contribute toward the child care expenses so many working parents have. “While no budget is perfect and requires some compromise by both sides, I believe the new plan invests strategically in ways that will improve quality of life in our community – without adding any new taxes. That’s a budget I can support.” Read more

Powell votes ‘yes’ on new budget – says plan provides path to fair public school funding

(Jul 12, 2024)

HARRISBURG, July 12 – State Rep. Lindsay Powell yesterday cast a “yes” vote for Pennsylvania’s 2024-25 budget, saying that the new plan brings the kind of bold investment the state especially needs to level the playing field for public school students. “The whole point of public education is to ensure that every child gets the same chance to succeed, but that can’t happen with the vast disparity we have in per-pupil spending between wealthier and less-affluent districts,” Powell said. “Pennsylvania has been failing its public school students, and it’s time for the commonwealth to step up and make the kind of commitment that affirms equity and a fair shot for all children. I believe the new budget’s $1.3 billion investment in our students reflects that kind of commitment needed to level the playing field and start shifting that burden off taxpayers. “At the same time, the new plan will reform the way we fund our cyber charter schools so that more of that money returns to fund public schools. “ The new budget also invests in ways that will help make our state schools and community colleges more affordable. We can’t afford to lose young adults to other states because we’re unable to provide attainable higher education. Our workforce and our economy ultimately pay the price.” Powell said the new budget also boosts funding to expand opportunities and bolster Read more

Abney votes ‘yes’ on new state budget, calls plan a game-changer for education

(Jul 11, 2024)

HARRISBURG, July 11 – State Rep. Aerion Abney today voted in favor of Pennsylvania’s new budget for 2024-25, saying that the plan will fundamentally change the way the state funds its public schools and provide a path toward equality in public education. “A public school education is supposed to be the great equalizer, but for decades, that hasn’t been the case here in PA because of an unconstitutional funding system that ties the quality of a student’s education to the wealth of their ZIP code,” Abney said. “I voted for the new state plan because I believe its $1.3 billion investment in students will be a game-changer. It’s time to level the playing field and ensure all Pennsylvania students get the quality education they deserve – and it’s also time to start easing the burden of rising property taxes residents have shouldered for too long. “The new plan also provides a more realistic formula for funding our cyber charters, so they don’t continue draining dollars from our brick-and-mortar public schools.” Abney said the new spending plan promises to make higher education more affordable for students. “Pennsylvania is ranked 49 th in the nation when it comes to public funding for higher education per student,” Abney said. “The result is that many young Pennsylvanians either forego college altogether or end up starting their lives and Read more

Benham PBM reform bill heads to governor’s desk

(Jul 11, 2024)

Legislation to crack down on predatory drug pricing practices clears state House and Senate Read more

Scott, Venkat: Bill to require insurers to provide multiple payment options to reimburse health care providers passes General Assembly

(Jul 10, 2024)

HARRISBURG, July 8 — State Reps. Greg Scott and Arvind Venkat said a crucial piece of legislation that aims to protect health care practitioners and their patients from unfair reimbursement practices imposed by some insurers is headed to the governor’s desk. House Bill 1664 would address how certain insurers require claims payments to be made through credit or debit card equivalents, which involves the insurer providing a series of numbers that the health care provider must enter on a website or credit card terminal. This process forces health care practices to absorb transaction fees, sometimes as high as 5%, or pass these additional costs on to patients. Insurers sometimes even receive a percentage of the transaction fee. Many health care offices, particularly those run by small business owners, are not fully equipped to handle end-to-end electronic claims processing, especially for bulk claim payments. As a result, these practices may be forced to upgrade their payment systems simply to be paid for the services they provide to patients covered under an insurer’s plan. This requirement unfairly restricts their business practices and increases operational costs. "In passing House Bill 1664, we're taking a significant step to ensure fairness in health care reimbursement practices,” said Scott, D-Montgomery. “This legislation would be a victory for dentists and their patients, ensuring that Read more