Jun. 14, 2019

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Mehaffie Message
The latest news from the State Capitol
Governor Signs Bill to Help Municipalities with Resource

(photo file Bill Signing 1 and Bill Signing 3) On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf signed House Bill 275, which was sponsored by Rep. Stephen Kinsey (D-Philadelphia) and me.

Now known as Act 6 of 2019, this bill renamed the former Early Intervention Program to the Strategic Management Planning Program. It was important to rename the program because the prior, misleading name implied financial trouble and deterred municipalities from using the resource.

This program from the Department of Community and Economic Development helps local governments develop multi-year financial plans with both short- and long-term objectives. It is a helpful management tool for any municipality regardless of whether it has financial difficulties.

As a former local government official, I know how important it is for municipalities to understand and obtain the tools available to them.
Police Present Information at Active Shooter Safety Seminar

We had great turnout for my Active Shooter Safety Seminar in Middletown on May 30.

Sgt. Tony Clements of Derry Township Police Department taught us how to respond during an active shooter scenario, whether it be in the workplace, church, mall or other place where people gather.

Thank you as well to Lower Swatara Township Police Chief Jeff Vargo, Patrolman Ryan Lesko and Detective Tony Gonzalez for attending.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Application Extended

The deadline for older adults and Pennsylvania residents with disabilities to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2018 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2019.

Last year, nearly 572,000 seniors and people with disabilities benefited from the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. The program delivered more than $253 million to eligible persons.

The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

Eligible applicants include persons or their spouses 65 years of age or older as of Dec. 31, 2018; widows or widowers 50 years of age or older as of Dec. 31, 2018; and permanently disabled persons 18 years of age or older during all or part of 2018. Please see the application booklet for additional eligibility requirements.

Distribution of rebates starts July 1 and eligible Pennsylvanians are encouraged to apply as soon as they can. After June 30, rebates will be distributed as claims are received and processed. Applications typically take 6-8 weeks to process.

As of June 1, the department had received 432,411 rebate applications. As a reminder, applicants are required to submit their bank account information on their application forms in order to receive their rebates through direct deposit.

Applicants may obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information on the Department of Revenue’s website or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190. Claim forms are also available at all municipal offices in the district or by contacting my district office at 717-534-1323.

It’s free to apply for a rebate, and the department reminds applicants that free assistance is available at hundreds of locations across the state, including Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging and some senior centers.

Claimants who already applied for rebates may check Property Tax/Rent Rebate Status online or call, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES.
One of my constituents, Oliver Herndon, joined me May 15 as my “shadow” in the legislature. Oliver is a Bucknell University student who is majoring in political science.

The Pennsylvania State Police once again hosted a Sunny Day Camp for those with special needs. Held at the State Police Academy in Hershey, this event allowed attendees to learn about the work of law enforcement.

Volunteers set up 660 flags on the “Avenue of Flags” at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in May. This is a fantastic display of patriotism.

I had the pleasure of providing a congratulatory certificate to Stacey Price, who is a fantastic swimmer. She placed first in the 25-meter freestyle and breaststroke competitions during Special Olympics in April.

I loved spending time at Penn State Rec Fest in Middletown, where attendees learned about the adaptive needs of citizens with disabilities.

Congratulations to Jason Zaprazny, a Hershey High School student who won the grand prize from the National Stock Market Game for his essay on ESG investing.

Those who put together the Memorial Day event in Hummelstown did a fantastic job to present such a nice morning honoring those we lost. Thank you to the veterans in attendance and to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

I appreciate that Derry Township and Middletown Borough also held Memorial Day events honoring the fallen.

A recent memorial service at the Midland Cemetery in Swatara Township recognized Andrew Askin, who was lost at sea in 1918. The U.S. Navy played an important role in this ceremony.

Our area has awesome new Eagle Scouts – Clayton David Wagner, Benjamin Edward Knisely and Noah Thomas Yeich. It was great to celebrate with them and their families at American Legion Post 594 in Middletown.

I recently toured the Carpenters Training Center in Lebanon. This is a great place for aspiring carpenters to learn the skills they need for their field.
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250 W. Chocolate Avenue, Suite 2 | Hershey, PA 17033 | Phone: (717) 534-1323
159-B East Wing | PO Box 202106 | Harrisburg, PA 17120-2106 | Phone: (717) 787-2684
Email Address: TMehaffie@pahousegop.com