Senator Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Budget Hearings Start in Harrisburg
  • Learn More About Future Susquehanna Riverlands State Park
  • Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info
  • Help is Available for Struggling Veterans
  • Mental Health Treatment is Available for Farmers
  • ICYMI: Uniting Against Cuffs Run Pumped Storage Proposal
  • Recognizing National FFA Week
  • On Deck
  • Upcoming PennDOT Maintenance Projects

Budget Hearings Start in Harrisburg

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I get an inside look at how YOUR hard-earned tax dollars are spent in state government. Earlier this month, Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled his budget proposal for the fiscal year, which starts on July 1.

His budget proposes to grow state government spending by more than 7%. This week and the next two weeks allow legislators on both sides of the aisle to ask questions about the spending proposal, effectiveness of state programs, and how we can find efficiencies within these agencies to make YOUR dollars go further.

Below is a breakdown of each of the public hearings held this week:

Independent Fiscal Office

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) estimates that the state will generate $791 million in revenue to support the state budget, due to Treasurer Stacy Garrity’s prudent fiscal management in investing our state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The IFO produces an annual electricity report each March that allows us to see how the Commonwealth leads the region (and nation) in electricity exports, while states like Maryland continue to reduce electricity generation capacity. The latter is resulting in proposed projects that will destroy Southern York County properties and amenities.

PA Department of Corrections and PA Parole Board

Overspending your tax dollars by $100 million.

Challenges with the state’s server data deletion and how agencies do not know what IT processes and protocols are – elevating the need to prioritize how our state looks at IT procurement and cybersecurity moving forward.

State System of Higher Education

Consolidation strategy called into question at hearing – no substantial savings and students are not enrolling in certain state-owned universities.

Department of Community and Economic Development

Inquiring about the agency’s experience with server data loss, financial ramifications, and sought information on optimizing the efficiency of EITC and OSTC processes.

Department of Labor and Industry

Highlighting concerns that broadband companies may struggle to deploy high-speed internet due to PA’s classification for its workers and discussing how to streamline apprenticeship programs to grow Pennsylvania’s workforce.

Department of Military and Veteran Affairs

Discussing how the department and Senate can work together to get approval of over 10 Veteran-related bills across the finish line in the House.

Shared concerns like cybersecurity challenges for the PA National Guard and the nationwide nursing shortage impact on our PA Veterans and families.

Find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at

Learn More About Future Susquehanna Riverlands State Park 

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is hosting a public meeting on Thursday, February 29, from 6-8 p.m. at Eastern York High School Auditorium in Wrightsville.

Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn will unveil initial plans for the park’s ecological restoration and site improvements. This is your opportunity to view preliminary designs, engage with DCNR staff, and provide feedback that will influence the project’s direction. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, do not miss your chance to help shape the future of this cherished landscape.

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.

Mental Health Treatment is Available for Farmers

Pennsylvania farmers and farm families live a stressful way of life, often filled with uncertainty. Rural areas have fewer therapists, and the work on a farm never stops.

While the circumstances farmers experience are unique, there is help available for those dealing with loneliness, sadness, stress or depression.

Professional treatment for mental health is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the free AgriStress HelpLine. Call or text a health care professional at 833-897-2474.

ICYMI: Uniting Against Cuffs Run Pumped Storage Proposal 

Last week, elected representatives from York and Lancaster counties rallied against the proposed Cuffs Run Pumped Storage facility by York Energy Storage, LLC. Despite being Berks County developers, they seek approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a hydroelectric pumped storage facility, threatening 580 acres of York County, including preserved farms and historic sites.

I took a few minutes to interview Congressman Lloyd Smucker about the potential impacts this project could have along the Susquehanna River. You can watch the whole event here

Following the gathering, a formal letter opposing the project was submitted to FERC. You too can weigh in on the project here using docket number P-15332 to reference the Cuffs Run proposal before the public comment period ends on March 31.

You can also send your comments via U.S. Postal Service to the following individual: 


Debbie-Anne A. Reese, Acting Secretary
USPS Mailing Address:
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20426

The proposed facility has drawn criticism for its potential impact on York County’s residents and environment. Learn more about the opposition efforts here.

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.

On Deck 

You can get updates over on X by following me here. The next hearing starts on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 9:30 a.m. with the PA Fish and Boat Commission and Game Commission.

Upcoming PennDOT Maintenance Projects 

Most weeks, PennDOT shares with me their maintenance schedule for the week ahead. When it becomes available, you can view the full list here to see if it will impact you and your family.


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