In this Edition:
Senate Acts Again to End Budget Impasse
The Senate voted Wednesday to pass a $30.26 Billion state budget -- essentially reverting back to the original House Bill 1460 that was passed by the House of Representatives on December 8.
We need to get money to the schools and social service agencies. We have passed the point where we can continue to hold up this vital funding based on political differences. The House has put us in this predicament because of its inability to pass anything that had been agreed to during weeks and months of negotiations.
This budget adds $100 million to basic education, and would free up the millions in state and federal school funding being held up by the budget standoff. Other budget-related bills, such as the school code and tax code, await action in the House.
We in the Senate remain committed to our budget framework and continue to negotiate in good faith. But this is the only way to get a budget to the Governor’s desk and is the fastest way to get the money that is sitting in treasury released to our schools and social service agencies.
Negotiations remain open on key issues – but the Senate has moved to get a budget passed and signed into law.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Deadline is Dec. 31
The deadline to apply to the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2014 is Dec. 31, 2015.
The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income and all COLAs are excluded, and the maximum standard rebate is $650.
Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2014 and meet all other eligibility criteria.
Applicants can obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information online or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190. Claimants who already applied for rebates may check the status of claims online or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES.
Please contact my office with questions about the application or stop by for assistance completing the form. My staff can let you know what paperwork you need to apply.
2016 Youth Wildlife Art Contest Accepting Entries
The annual Youth Wildlife Art Contest focuses on Pennsylvania’s Endangered and Threatened Species. Submitted artwork may be horizontal or vertical on 12-inch x 9-inch heavy weight paper, which is no more than a quarter inch thick. Accepted mediums include oils, pastels, color pencils, water colors, acrylic, charcoal, graphite, black and white or color.
Artwork must be postmarked on or before January 29, 2016 and submitted along with the 2016 Youth Wildlife Art Contest entry form.
Gear Up for Winter Driving Conditions
Access the motorist’s checklist to ensure your vehicle is winter-ready:
Be sure to download a copy of “Ice and Snow-Take It Slow” for an Emergency Travel Kit checklist and winter driving tips to make the best of wintertime travel.
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Senate Box 203040
Northampton County Office