Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season and I wish you and yours a blessed and safe 2013.
On New Year’s Day I was sworn into office to serve another two years as your State Representative. Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, the General Assembly must be in session the first Tuesday of the new legislative session, which this year fell on January 1st.
I am honored that my colleagues have elected me to serve as Vice Chairman of the Allegheny County Delegation for the 2013-14 Legislative Session. The Delegation is a group of Democratic lawmakers who serve Allegheny County and work together to address the needs of the region. State Rep. Dom Costa will serve as the Delegation’s Chairman for the 2013-2014 Legislative Session.
I look forward to working with Chairman Costa and the leaders of the city and county to help move the region forward. Current issues of interest to the delegation include funding of mass transit, transportation projects and the property reassessment process, just to name a few.
For the 2013-2014 session, the Democratic leadership team has appointed me to serve on four standing committees of the House of Representatives. I am honored by the appointments to the following:
Tourism & Recreational Development – I have served on this committee since I was first elected to the House of Representatives. This is a vital committee as we consider legislation that impacts Pennsylvania’s economy by approving legislation that benefits the tourism and recreational industry. For every dollar we invest in this industry, Pennsylvania receives approximately a $7 return. Therefore, I am excited to continue to serve on this committee. For this session, I will serve as Subcommittee Chairman on Arts and Entertainments.
Gaming Oversight – Again, this is a committee for which I have served since I was elected to the House of Representatives. This committee is vital as Pennsylvania continues to expand gaming in an effort to retain the recreational dollars residents spend here in Pennsylvania. As you know, the ultimate goal is that revenue generated from the expansion will eventually result in significant reductions in property taxes. In addition, more than 16,000 new living wage jobs have been created along with more than $6 billion of tax revenue that is improving the quality of life in local communities, reinvigorating our horse racing industry, and lowering the property tax of homeowners.
Urban Affairs – This committee is crucial for Western Pennsylvania and all across our state as we fight to combat urban blight. This committee will be under new Democratic leadership with Rep. Ted Harhai appointed as our Democratic Chairman. I will serve with Chairman Harhai in the roll of Subcommittee Chairman on Cities and Counties of the Second Class.
Children & Youth – This will be my first session serving on the Children & Youth Committee. As a father of four, I look forward to this new committee assignment as we tackle important issues that deal with the safety and welfare of our young children. One major issue that is certain to come up this session on this committee is Governor Corbett’s Task Force on Child Protection, its recently released report and recommendations on what steps Pennsylvania needs to make to keep our children safe. Many of these efforts are being pushed to the forefront in light of all of the happenings involving child abuse in Centre County.
Income Tax Preparation
As you may be aware, my office will partner with the AARP Foundation’s Volunteer Tax-Aide program to again provide free income tax preparation for low-income individuals and couples. I am fortunate to have a number of AARP volunteers who have committed to donate their time again to help my constituents. This program is available by appointment only to low-income taxpayers. Last year these volunteers completed over 1,000 tax returns for local residents.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance with a state or federal tax return or completing a Property Tax/Rent Rebate application, please call my office at 412-928-9514 to check eligibility for this free service and appointment availability. Appointments are limited and fill up quickly.
Inheritance Tax Information
Tax season can be very stressful for taxpayers, especially if they have had to endure the death of a family member the prior year. In addition to dealing with their grief, many are confused by the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax laws.
Though not a topic that many like to discuss, I feel it is important to ensure that my constituents have information on what will be taxed and at what rate. In addition, it is important to understand the heir classes and how your loved ones would be impacted should you pass away and be leaving behind inheritance to them.
Stop by my office for a free brochure which details these issues and others. I believe you will find it informative
As the new session begins, I will continue to mail out this monthly report. In addition, I will periodically be emailing out email updates on important matters regarding your state government. If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to visit my website at www.pahouse.com/Deasy and sign up to receive my Email Alerts by clicking on the Email Alert tab on the left tool bar of the homepage.
As always, my office stands ready to assist you in any state-related matter. If we can ever be of service, please don’t hesitate to call us at 412-928-9514.