I would like to remind everyone that, each month, I provide mobile office hours for Northside residents to access state services and information.
The mobile office hours are held the last Wednesday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Allegheny City Room at the Carnegie Library Allegheny Branch, 1230 Federal St. A notary public is available during these hours, by appointment only.
The state services my office can help you with include: PACE/PACENET prescription-drug cards for seniors, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides free or low-cost insurance; and the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate — the deadline to apply is June 30.
My main office is also available to help you. The People’s Office is located on the first floor of 2015-2017 Centre Ave.; the telephone number is 412-471-7760.
The mobile office hours are just part of my ongoing Northside outreach. For example, I have recently visited the Pittsburgh Allegheny PreK-5 and Northview Heights K-5 schools, and have an upcoming visit planned to the Pittsburgh King PreK-8 School.
In addition, this summer I will be hosting informational sessions regarding legislative, budget and community updates. These take place at various senior homes district-wide, as my office arranges ice cream socials or spaghetti dinners. On the Northside, I will be visiting: Arch Court, Steelworkers Tower, West Park Court, Northview Heights Senior Center, Pennsylvania Bidwell and Perrysville Plaza. Other interested centers should call my office to arrange a date.
It has been a busy legislative session so far in Harrisburg. I was able to work with representatives from both parties to win House passage of my bill that would help to reduce the number of abandoned properties in Pennsylvania communities. This bill (H.B. 1022) also passed the House last session, but it expired in the Senate.
It would change state law on "adverse possession," a process that allows a person who lives in a home that’s considered legally abandoned to take ownership of the property. You can learn more about this bill by contacting my office or visiting my website at www.pahouse.com/Wheatley.
As of this writing, the state budget debate is about to get under way. The House Republican majority’s budget proposal would cut $26.6 million, or 14.7 percent, from current state funding levels for Pittsburgh Public Schools, and Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposal includes even deeper cuts.
The Corbett and House Republican budgets also propose deep cuts to Pitt and other universities and to hospitals and nursing homes. All those cuts would be especially bad for Pittsburgh because the education and health care sectors are such a large part of our economy.
At the same time, the governor and House Republicans plan to sit on the $500 million surplus the state now has, instead of using it to prevent cuts that will hurt students and cost jobs. I will continue to advocate for a more responsible budget.
In closing, I would like to invite Northside residents to my annual Community Appreciation Day, which will be held Sept. 10 at Kennard Field in the Hill District. This free, fun event draws more than 2,000 people annually, and last year we had more than 250 sponsors, vendors and participating organizations.
I will provide more details to constituents as the date gets closer. I also invite you to participate in volunteer opportunities at Community Appreciation Day — for more information, please call my office at 412-471-7760.
State Rep. Jake Wheatley
19th Legislative District