Subscribe to Enewsletter  
Facebook Twitter Instagram

PA Budget

Senator Costa Comments on the 2019-20 State BudgetThis year we passed a responsible budget that funds some of our top priorities, including investments in education from early learning through our institutions of higher learning, as well as funding for school safety and anti-violence initiatives. But we left much undone. We should have increased the minimum wage about the poverty-level of $7.25 per hour, done substantive work on renewable energy standards, and instituted a tax on natural gas drilling.

I’m not calling this budget mission accomplished; I’m calling it mission begun. We’ll be back in the fall to tackle these policy initiatives that we know have the support of the majority of Pennsylvanians.

The final budget passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 42 to 8, and there’s more information at

UPMC/Highmark: Resolved, for now

UPMC/HighmarkI was happy to hear the news that UPMC and Highmark had reached an agreement that would allow patients to continue their care in Western Pennsylvania. It was a long process, and I want to thank all the advocates, other lawmakers, and Attorney General Josh Shapiro for pushing for a resolution.

As we move forward, we need a legislative solution to prevent this from happening again here or anywhere else in the Commonwealth. I’ll continue working on my legislation that would require health care delivery systems to accept the payment from any willing insurer, and if they can’t reach an agreement on their own, the would have to enter binding arbitration.

Fresh Fruit & Veggie Grants

I’m happy to announce the award of federal grants to local elementary schools to fund healthy, fresh food programs for students.

Our young students can’t learn properly if they aren’t properly fed. A healthy meal means so much to a hungry child, and these grants are going to schools that have demonstrated a need in their students’ diets.

Fresh Fruit & Veggie Funding priority is given to the schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals.  Grantees are required to spend a majority of their grant on the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetable and must develop a plan to establish partnerships to reduce other costs.  Schools are also required to provide nutrition education to students, but cannot use FFVP funding to purchase nutrition education materials.

The Woodland Hills School District will receive $60,490; Wilkinsburg schools will receive $28,014; West Mifflin Area Schools will receive $42,607.50; Propel Charter Schools will receive $139,897.50; Pittsburgh School District will receive $92,805; Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship will receive $17,940; and Penn Hills School District will receive $69,402.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).  The program’s goals are to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expand the variety of fruits and vegetables students experience, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and positively impact students’ present and future health.  FFVP was first implemented in Pennsylvania in 2004 and expanded to all 50 states in 2008.

Give your Thoughts on Public Transit!

Quality public transit is a human right. Last month, PPT launched an innovative, resident-led transit planning tool for the extension of the East Busway out to Monroeville and out to McKeesport through on-street transit improvements. This will be the blueprint for advocating and winning a rapid bus corridor through these communities. There is a clear pathway to implementation, but we can't do it without the public's input. 

You can give you input on how to bring better transit into the Mon Valley and Eastern Suburbs by participating with Pittsburghers for Public Transit's Beyond the East Busway Tool here:

Census 20/20Census

The Census Bureau is hiring 1,000 people in time for the 2020 Census. They will have positions to fill from $17-$35 an hour. See how you can qualify for a position, contact their Regional Office Recruiting at 1-800-563-6499.

In the 43rd

I am enjoying your suggestions on where we should go next for In The 43rd, please keep them coming! This week, we take a look at the groundbreaking of Graham Field in Wilkinsburg – an exciting new partnership between Chatham University and the borough.

Graham Field Groundbreaking

Facebook/Twitter Facebook Twitter Instagram Stay Connected

If you haven’t visited my Facebook page, join the conversation by ‘liking’ the page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Plenty of information is available on these pages about community events and issues affecting our friends and neighbors.  If you have questions or concerns, send me a direct message or post you thoughts.

Offices to Serve You

  Forest Hills
1501 Ardmore Blvd. | Suite 403
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Phone: (412) 241-6690
Fax: (412) 731-2332
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
2306 Brownsville Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Phone: (412) 884-8308
Fax: (412) 886-2080
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
314 E. Eighth Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120
Phone: (412) 462-4204
Fax: (412) 462-4543
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203043
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-7683
Fax: (717) 783-5976
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Learn Why We're Doing This Take the Survey