Organizations Get Reprieve from Small Games Reports

Sen. Tim Solobay talks about the small games of chance law and more in this week's column.

I have good news to report to the many volunteer organizations across the region that depend on small games of chance for vital operating funds.

Weeks after I wrote to the Corbett Administration asking for a delay in the reporting requirements of Pennsylvania’s new Small Games of Chance law, the state Department of Revenue has announced a one-year reprieve.

This is great news for hundreds of important organizations across Pennsylvania that are struggling with the complexity of the new law. I applaud the governor for recognizing the consequences that heavy handed enforcement could have had.

In a Dec. 13 letter, I urged the administration to postpone a Feb. 1 deadline for organizations to file reports under Act 2 of 2012, a sweeping revision of Pennsylvania’s Small Games of Chance regulations.

The one-year delay will give the Legislature a chance to fix the law so that it doesn’t threaten the existence of volunteer groups that have become vital to their communities. We’re already working on revisions to the law based on hundreds of letters and emails from community leaders concerned with the over-reach of Act 2.

Because of my experience as a fire chief, I warned colleagues of the unintended consequences when the bill was making its way through the Legislature. We couldn’t convince them that it might shut down some important organizations.

Now, I think, every lawmaker has heard from leaders in their communities and we’re ready to make sure that the law preserves the viability of the organizations that desperately need the money to continue the work they do in the community.

Appointments Available for Free Income Tax Preparation

I will again be hosting free income tax preparation services in my district offices during the upcoming tax season. 

The services are provided by  Community Action Southwest’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and you must meet certain income and eligibility requirements.

Your income must be less than $51,000 for the year, and you cannot have received income from either natural gas wells or Tier II railroad benefits.

Preparers will be available by appointment in my Canonsburg office on Tuesday, Feb. 26, Tuesday, March 12, and Wednesday, March 20. Appointments are available from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

In my Washington office, appointments will be available Friday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, March 14 from 10 a.m. until noon. For more information, and a list of what information you will need for income tax preparation, click here.

Environmental Excellence Awards Deadline is Jan. 31

Businesses and organizations that are leading the way in environmental stewardship should consider applying for the 2013 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award through the PA Department of Environmental Protection.

The award is open to any Pennsylvania business, educational institution, non-profit organization, government agency, farm, or individual that has created or participated in the development of a project or strategy that promotes environmental stewardship and economic development.

You can download an application from DEP's website. Projects must have been completed between Aug. 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012 to qualify. The winners will be honored during a special evening reception and the winning projects will also be listed on DEP’s website.

The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Jan 31st and all submissions must be emailed to RA-EPgovenviroawards@pa.gov.


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