Senator Robinson E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Leetsdale Fire Department Recognized by PA Auditor General
  • Community Highlights
  • Addressing Healthcare Provider Shortages in Rural Areas
  • Funding Brought to 37th District
  • Senate Begins Review of Proposed State Budget
  • Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info
  • Help is Available for Struggling Veterans
  • Recognizing National FFA Week

Leetsdale Fire Department Recognized by PA Auditor General

Congratulations to the Leetsdale Fire Department! They were recently recognized by Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy DeFoor for successfully participating in the Limited Procedure Engagement (LPE) Pilot Program.  This program allowed the Leetsdale Volunteer Fire Relief Association to complete required audits in nearly half the usual time.

You can read more about the Auditor General’s pilot program here.

Community Highlights

Congratulations to my constituent, Justin, on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout! For his Eagle Project, Justin spent six months refurbishing and painting Webb Park’s pony league baseball team’s dugout and storage facility, coordinating with Collier Township Public Works.

Congratulations to Arlie Aesthetics on their new location in Bethel Park! I was happy to visit Arlie here last week, and really appreciated the time she took to explain all the great skin health services she provides!

Thank you to the Baierl Family YMCA for a great visit last week! I enjoyed seeing their facility and discussing their upcoming projects, and I had a lot of fun testing my rock climbing skills!

Congratulations to Boyce Middle School in Upper St. Clair School District on their National Blue Ribbon School Award!

Addressing Healthcare Provider Shortages in Rural Areas

The healthcare industry plays a vital role to our Commonwealth’s economy. With thirty percent of Pennsylvania’s land area classified as medically underserved, it is critical that we invest in healthcare in rural areas to address this shortfall.

I was glad to participate in a productive hearing with the Senate Majority Policy Committee to discuss the challenges surrounding rural health care, as well as a roundtable discussion with the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners. Thank you to my colleagues, guest panelists, and nurse practitioners for your time and collaboration at these events to address this important issue.

Funding Brought to 37th District

I was thrilled to secure more funding for the 37th district last year from the Allegheny County Gaming Economic Development Tourism Fund (GEDTF) and the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).

Recently, the Western Allegheny Community Library received $200,000 from the GEDTF program for safety improvements to their driveway, including surface paving and installing a guard rail. I look forward to seeing the completion of this and other projects and to bringing more funds to our region this year.

Senate Begins Review of Proposed State Budget

I spent time in Harrisburg this week as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee as we began public hearings on the proposed 2024-25 state budget.

Among the highlights:

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) hearing focused on the commonwealth’s ongoing structural deficit and future financial standing. The IFO’s projected revenues for 2024-25 are $825 million lower than those from the Shapiro administration. Additionally, the IFO director projected the current fund balance and Rainy Day Fund – the state’s emergency savings account – would both run out in 2026-27 under the governor’s budget.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) budget hearing included questions about how the new governance model for PASSHE and community colleges would be structured and when the transition would happen. As co-chair of the Senate Community College Caucus, I was particularly concerned that very little information was available, and PASSHE’s chancellor was not included in the work group planning the merger.

At the Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Parole Board budget hearing, the committee sought an explanation for Shapiro’s new funding for the department totaling $229 million, which is $74 million more than the department requested. This followed the department overspending its 2023-24 budget by $100 million. The need to curb excessive spending on overtime was also discussed.

At the Department of Community and Economic Development budget hearing, the committee asked about the negative impacts of Pennsylvania’s burdensome permit process and tax penalties on startup businesses that don’t turn an immediate profit. Members also discussed the governor’s Main Street Matters program, which he wants to fund at more than four times the amount of a similar program that already exists. I discussed my legislation, SB497, which is expected to bring engineering experts to Pennsylvania for advanced manufacturing initiatives, and expressed gratitude for DCED’s collaboration with me on this projected fiscal benefit to our commonwealth.

During Thursday’s Department of Labor and Industry hearing, I asked department Secretary Nancy Walker how the additional funds requested in the budget for unemployment compensation administration and labor law enforcement would be utilized. There was also robust discussion of the workforce challenges facing the state as older workers retire and not enough new workers take their place. As Chair of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, I will continue to work collaboratively with the Department and other state agencies to promote job growth and economic development across the state.

Budget hearings will continue next week in Harrisburg. Find the schedule, livestreams, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at

Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding free webinars to assist college-bound students and their families with navigating the financial aid process.

Speakers will discuss planning for higher education financing, comparing financial aid offers and understanding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Register to attend the one-hour webinars, which run through July.

Help is Available for Struggling Veterans

Like anyone, veterans and their families can face unexpected circumstances that impose financial burdens. To help veterans who are facing challenging times, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs administers the Veterans Temporary Assistance (VTA) Program.

The VTA provides temporary financial assistance of up to $1,600 in a 12-month period to veterans or their surviving spouses who reside in Pennsylvania for food, shelter, fuel and clothing.

Learn more about how to qualify and apply.

Recognizing National FFA Week

As agriculture is one of Pennsylvania’s top industries, it is important to recognize National FFA Week, which runs from Feb. 17-24.

Farmers work hard so we can enjoy fresh, local fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses and milk. They help to reduce our dependence on other countries for our food supply so we don’t need to worry about being able to put food on the table.

A group of young farmers founded FFA in 1928, and the organization continues to play an important role in attracting future generations. After all, agriculture is more than planting and harvesting – it involves science, business and more.


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