Friday, October 31, 2008

State Capitol Roundup for October 31

An abbreviated State Capitol Roundup courtesy of state Rep. Bob Mensch, R-147th Dist. (Hey, it's an election year and most of our legislators are stumping for last-minute votes.)

Smith Continues Call for Fiscal Constraint

While the administration is just now reacting to the state's financial slowdown, House Republicans have led the way by reducing caucus expenses by more than 10 percent in each of the last three years. House Republican Leader Sam Smith called the governor's announcement Thursday that he was cutting $311 million from the state's $28 billion budget "a good beginning" but stressed the need to do more. He reiterated the call for immediate budget meetings to get a better handle on the state's finances and protect taxpayers. The state Department of Revenue reports revenue collections are nearly $300 million behind estimates for the first quarter of the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Heating Assistance Program Opens Soon

Pennsylvania's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) opens Nov. 3 to help residents struggling to pay home-heating costs this season. Income eligibility for 2008-09 was expanded to 210 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guideline, allowing an additional 80,000 Pennsylvanians to be eligible for assistance. This year, a family of four earning up to $44,443 annually can qualify for help with their heating bills or emergency heating equipment needs. People do not need to have unpaid bills in order to receive energy assistance, and they can receive this assistance without being on welfare. For more information, or to apply, contact the local county assistance office, call the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095 or visit

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