Wheatley urges Desert Shield/Desert Storm vets to apply for bonus

(Mar 17, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today reminded his fellow veterans of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm that they qualify for a special one-time payment in honor of their service. To qualify for the bonus, veterans must have served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations between Aug. 2, 1990 and Aug. 31, 1991. “This bonus is intended to honor those who volunteered and fought in the first Gulf War to liberate Kuwait and force Saddam Hussein’s troops back to Iraq,” said Wheatley, a U.S. Marine combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm who received the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal. “I urge my fellow veterans who served in these operations to apply today so they don’t miss out on this 'thank you' for their service.” The program pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000. So far, more than 11,000 Persian Gulf veterans have applied for the bonus program since its start in 2008. Pennsylvania’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is Read more


Wheatley: Budget proposal good step for Pennsylvania

(Mar 04, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 3 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, said today that Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal is a good first step in crafting a budget to move Pennsylvania forward. Wheatley said the governor’s proposal addresses the projected $2.3 billion structural deficit, increases funding for education and includes a plan to improve the state’s business climate. These elements are all part of the governor’s commitment to create jobs that pay, schools that teach and government that works. "The Finance Committee will play a crucial role in this year’s budget process due to the significant tax policy changes being proposed," Wheatley said. "I look forward to working on all of these proposals when they get to my committee." Those tax changes include an increase in the sales tax from 6 percent to 6.6 percent and an increase in the cigarette tax of $1 per pack, from $1.60 to $2.60. The plan would also implement a tax on the extraction of natural gas and a tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars. In addition to increasing education funding by $2 billion over four years, the governor wants to provide $3.8 billion in local tax relief for homeowners, renters, individuals and businesses in the form of property tax relief, wage tax relief and expanded rent rebates. The governor also aims to address the state's pension funding challenge with a multi-faceted strategy Read more


Wheatley invites minority, women and disadvantaged business owners to the Capitol for Lobby Day

(Feb 19, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 19 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, invites owners of minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged businesses to the state Capitol for his annual Minority/Women/Disadvantaged Businesses Lobby Day on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Wheatley said the business leaders will lobby for Wheatley's H.B. 85 , which is designed to improve the participation of minorities, women and the disadvantaged in state contracts and purchasing. The day’s schedule includes: 10 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. - Registration at the Capitol Media Center (Room 1 East Wing). 10:20 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. - Press Conference in Capitol Media Center. 10:45 a.m. - Lobby Day Participants will be recognized on House floor. 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. - Luncheon in Rep. Wheatley’s office (Room 36 East Wing). 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Participants visit legislators to lobby for H.B. 85. Wheatley said his bill would level the playing field for small businesses to compete with larger businesses for state contracts. "Small businesses need our support to help them survive and eventually thrive in the marketplace,” Wheatley said. “My bill includes things we can agree to, on a bipartisan basis. In fact, similar legislation has already passed the House unanimously in the past, so I am hopeful we can get my bill to the governor’s desk this session.” ### Read more


Wheatley named minority chairman of Finance Committee

(Jan 07, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, was sworn in Tuesday to his seventh term representing Pittsburgh's 19th Legislative District and will begin serving in the key post of minority chairman of the House Finance Committee.  Wheatley was appointed to the chairmanship, his first, by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. The Finance Committee reviews legislation related to finance and taxation and its jurisdiction includes the Department of Revenue. "I thank Leader Dermody for entrusting me with the important Finance Committee chairmanship. In November, Pennsylvanians voted by nearly a 10-point margin to change direction with Governor-elect Tom Wolf, and I look forward to working with him and legislators from both parties to address the challenges facing our state, including the $2 billion deficit, the need to restore massive school funding cuts and our rank of 50th in job creation," Wheatley said. "I also plan to continue working on priorities such as including minority- and women-owned businesses in state contracts, providing teachers with a tax credit for school supplies they buy with their own money and providing first-time drug offenders the same opportunity that first-time DUI offenders have to get to and from work, school and medical treatments." Wheatley was first elected in 2002 to represent the 19th Legislative District, which includes historic Pittsburgh neighborhoods such as Read more


Hope for Hannah legislation becomes law

(Dec 28, 2014)

Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more


Beware IRS phone scams

(Nov 29, 2014)

Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed. Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed. Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you. Read more


HEROIN: What you need to know about Pennsylvania’s Good Samaritan Law

(Nov 24, 2014)

Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote. The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses. Read more


In the News: Dept. of Human Services name change better reflects mission

(Nov 24, 2014)

House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session. According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more


Do you need help paying heating bills?

(Nov 24, 2014)

As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more


Apply for health insurance by Feb. 16

(Nov 23, 2014)

The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll. Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more


Sign up for the Do-Not-Call list

(Nov 22, 2014)

To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more


Weatherizing your home saves you money on energy bills

(Nov 20, 2014)

Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. Read more


Check out charities before making holiday donations

(Nov 20, 2014)

While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly. Read more