Jan. 30, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Governor’s Address to Kick Off 2020-21 Budget Process

The House and Senate will convene in a joint session of the General Assembly at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4, to hear Gov. Tom Wolf outline his spending proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year. You can watch the address live at www.pahousegop.com.

House Republicans have been standing up for taxpayers and will continue to do so, working to ensure your hard-earned money is invested wisely in the core functions of government, such as education and public safety.

This year, there’s a big reason to be hyperaware of how money is spent and cutting money that’s being wasted; we started 2020 with a $904 million state deficit. The overdraft started in October, just four months into the fiscal year. The state treasurer and auditor general approve loans to address these cashflow shortages. Taxpayers are being charged $11 million extra in interest for the latest $1.5 billion loan. Essentially, taxpayers were charged interest to use their own money as part of the state’s poor financial management practices. Click here for more information about legislation designed to address this serious problem.

The governor’s address is just the beginning of the annual budget process. The House Appropriations Committee will conduct a series of hearings starting Tuesday, Feb. 18, to delve into the details of the governor’s plan and how state agencies are spending their funding.

For a schedule of the hearings, click here.

Legislative Report: Fayette County Communities That Care

In my latest Legislative Report, I talked with Lee Winterhalter. He serves as a board member for Fayette County Communities That Care, which works to improve the health and well-being of Fayette Countians by addressing problem behaviors in adolescents.

Communities That Care provides an important service to our area. To learn more, please visit ctcfayette.org.

Click here to view video. 
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Applications Now Available

Forms for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are now available for eligible Pennsylvanians to begin claiming rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2019. Remember – you do not need to pay anyone for assistance to apply for the grants. Help is available from my office at no charge.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. The Revenue Department automatically calculates supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners.

Additional information, as well as claim forms, are available here.

The deadline to apply for a rebate is June 30. Rebates will be distributed beginning July 1, as required by law.
Thanking Our Firefighters

Recently, I had the opportunity to break bread with the dedicated men and women of the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department Station 618. These volunteers are the backbone of their community and give selflessly to their neighbors and friends.

Last fall, my colleagues and I passed a package of bills designed to assist with recruiting and retention efforts of volunteer fire and ambulance companies across the state. With the declining number of volunteer emergency responders plummeting to critical levels, they need our help, and I’m hopeful the Senate will move the bills soon.

New Law Allows Landowners to Mark Properties with Purple Paint

Pennsylvania has joined several other states in adopting a “purple paint law,” which provides landowners with an alternative to marking their properties as “no trespassing.”

Under the law, landowners may paint purple stripes on trees or posts to mark their properties. The lines must be vertical and at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. They must be 3 to 5 feet off the ground, readily visible to a person approaching the property and no more than 100 feet apart. While the law does not specify a certain shade of purple, a number of paint manufacturers offer a product called “No Hunting Purple.”

Previously, the only way landowners could post their properties was by posting signs that would deteriorate over time.

The law applies everywhere, except in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.
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District Offices: Fayette Chamber of Commerce Building, 65 West Main Street, Suite 200, Uniontown, PA 15401
Telephone: 724-438-6100
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Email Address: MDowling@pahousegop.com