Senate Approves Flood Aid

Scranton Times Leader

Two months after destructive flooding hit the Susquehanna River Basin, the Senate approved a package of bills Wednesday to provide an estimated $150 million in state aid to help individuals and communities in their efforts at recovery.

Designed to help low-income individuals, small businesses, farmers and property taxpayers in flood-damaged areas, the measures now go to the House where a set of companion bills is in the hopper.

Specifically, the bills will provide state grants to help low-income families, low-interest state loans to help small businesses, allow local officials to give abatements on property taxes for properties substantially damaged by flooding and loans to help farmers recovering from natural disasters.

Another set of bills authorizes the 25 percent state share of spending for more than 60 infrastructure projects in Northeast Pennsylvania eligible for state and federal flood rehabilitation money. These projects includes roads, bridges and sewer systems as well as flood control projects for communities.

The bills are intended to supplement federal disaster aid available after Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene.

The package is an example of bipartisanship at work, with five Northeast Pennsylvania senators taking part in bill sponsorships.

“We intend to get this package to the governor’s desk in December,” said Sen. John Gordner, R-27, Berwick, who steered Senate passage.

Sens. Lisa Baker, R-20, Lehman Twp.; John Blake, D-22, Archbald; Gene Yaw, R-23, Williamsport; John Yudichak, D-14, Nanticoke, are also bill sponsors.

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