|Attention: Medicare Recipients
From April 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2019, Medicare will mail out new Medicare cards that no longer have Social Security numbers on them. The new card identification number will be a random mix of numbers and letters. This will help to protect a cardholder’s identity.
Some things to remember:
• Your benefits will stay the same – There are no changes to your coverage. The only difference is your identification number.
• You don’t have to do anything - There is no need to confirm your personal information with Medicare or anyone else. Your card will automatically come in the mail and is ready to use right away.
• There is no charge for the card - The card is free. There is no “one-time fee,” “processing fee” or any other fees.
Medicare representatives don’t call you or come to your house. Hang up on anyone who calls you and says there is a fee for the card or that they need to confirm your identity. It’s a scam! For more information, call the PA-SMP at 1-800-356-3606. Help is free and confidential.
Tax Amnesty Nets State $114 Million
Pennsylvania’s latest Tax Amnesty Program brought in $114.5 million, surpassing the $100 million net revenue previously estimated.
The Tax Amnesty Program waived all penalties and half of the interest for eligible individuals or businesses that applied to the program and paid delinquent state taxes between April 21 and June 19, 2017. Taxpayers who were eligible but didn’t participate in the program will now be assessed a 5 percent penalty.
Tax amnesty is not a forgiveness of debt but a reduction in fines to encourage payment. Anyone who took advantage of this program will not be eligible to do so again should the Commonwealth enact a subsequent amnesty program.
The proceeds generated will apply toward the 2016-17 fiscal year, which ended June 30.
Turn Around, Don’t Drown
With summer weather leading to increased storms, heavy rains and flash flooding, residents are reminded of a 2012 law that encourages people to turn around, don’t drown.
Under the law, motorists who ignore temporary police barricades and drive through flooded areas during and after storms could face fines.
Specifically, anyone who requires rescue, towing or medical care after ignoring a barricade or warning sign can be fined $250 to $500 and have points assessed to their driving record. They may also be forced to pay restitution for the cost of their rescue.
The law is designed to discourage motorists from driving around road-closed signs and putting themselves, as well as emergency responders, in danger. As little as six inches of moving water can knock a person down and one foot of water can sweep a vehicle away.
More information about flood safety is available here.
DEP Accepting Applications for Small Business Advantage Grants
The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting manufacturers, retailers, service providers, agricultural businesses and other small businesses to apply for a total of $1 million in Small Business Advantage Grants to finance pollution prevention and energy-efficiency projects.
The program operates on a first-come, first-served basis that provides up to 50 percent reimbursement matching grants, up to a maximum of $7,000 to $9,500, depending on the project. Eligible projects must save the small business a minimum of $500 and at least 25 percent annually in energy consumption or pollution-related expenses.
The grant program runs from July 25, 2017, through June 30, 2018, or until funds are exhausted.
For the first time, applications must be submitted online at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/Login.aspx.
More information is available at this link.
Schedule Your Capitol Tour Early
Beginning Aug. 1, the Capitol tour office will be taking group reservations for the 2017-18 school year. The late spring and early summer seasons are the busiest times for Capitol tours, so make your reservation as early as possible.
You can call the Capitol tour office directly at 1-800-868-7672 or call my office at 717-260-6139. When you call, have your group name, total number of participants and best contact information ready. Individuals may make reservations or join a tour group at the time of their visit.
Tours are available Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and most holidays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The Capitol is closed for tours New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Weekday tours begin at the top of the hour and every half hour. The tours last between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the size of the group.
For more information, click here.
Support Local Police at National Night Out Events
Tuesday, Aug. 1, is National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.
My office will have tables at the Lehighton and Jim Thorpe National Night Out events. The Jim Thorpe National Night Out event is from 6-9 p.m. at Memorial Park, and the Lehighton National Night Out event is from 7-10:30 p.m. at the Upper Park and Amphitheater. Hope to see you there!
Around Our Community
For more information about the national event, click here.
On Sunday afternoon, I attended a joint Schuylkill-Carbon Sober Event organized by Carbon Recovers and several other groups at Mauch Chunk Lake Park. It was a wonderful gathering. Pictured with me are Kara Dietrich and her mom, Missy Dietrich.
On Thursday, I joined Kathy Henderson from Carbon Chamber and Economic Development and many realtors from the Pocono Mountain Association of Realtors for a tour of economic development sites in Carbon County. I’m pictured above sharing a legislative update with the group.