Jan. 19, 2024

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Mehaffie Message
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
In this Edition:
  •   EXPANDED Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Now Open
  •   Farm Show Wrap Up
  •   Commission Announces Education Funding Recommendations
  •   Applications for 2024 Pennsylvania House Scholarship Available
  •   $155 Million in Grants Available for School Safety, Security
  •   Applications Now Being Accepted for Fishing, Boating Education Grants
  •   Out and About
EXPANDED Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Now Open

The application period for the state’s 2023 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is now open (online filing only) for eligible Pennsylvanians to begin claiming rebates on property taxes or rent paid last year.

Income limits increased this year to $45,000 annually for both homeowners and renters, so if you were earning too much to qualify before, you may be eligible now. Remember to exclude 50% of Social Security when determining your income.

The law I supported to increase income limits also increased the maximum rebate to $1,000.

The program is open to residents age 65 years and older; widows and widowers 50 years and older; and people with disabilities 18 years and older.

Remember – you do not need to pay anyone for assistance to apply for the rebates. Apply online at mypath.pa.gov or contact my office for help. Additional information about the program is available here. 

* My office should have booklets available mid-February.
Farm Show Wrap Up

I had a fantastic time at the Farm Show last week. We had various exhibitors from the district participate in the Farm Show, including students from Milton Hershey School.

I also sat down with Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding to discuss conservation efforts, avian flu, the importance of Penn Vet in the Commonwealth and much more. You can watch the interview here.

I’m already looking forward to next year!
Commission Announces Education Funding Recommendations

Early in 2023, Commonwealth Court deemed our education funding system unconstitutional, and directed lawmakers to develop a remedy with attention to adequacy, equity and timeliness. In response, the Basic Education Funding Commission hosted 11 hearings across the state to gather input from public school finance experts, education advocates and others.

The commission recently announced its final recommendations. It is now up to the full House and Senate to make the necessary changes to ensure all students have access to a quality education.

Learn more about the Basic Education Funding Commission, including the final recommendations, at https://basiceducationfundingcommission.com.
Applications for 2024 Pennsylvania House Scholarship Available


High school seniors interested in receiving financial assistance to help pay for college can now apply for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Scholarship.

Each year the program awards a four-year scholarship to two students preparing for post-secondary education. It is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.

To qualify, students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school. Other factors taken into consideration for the awards are a student’s commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and financial need.

The scholarship program is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. Click here for more information and an application. Deadline to apply is April 15.

The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used. Scholarships are awarded through an independent panel of judges chosen by the foundation.
$155 Million in Grants Available for School Safety, Security

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has approved a framework to invest more than $155 million in federal and state school safety funding:  

  •   $90 million for noncompetitive school mental health grants.
  •   $32.2 million for competitive school safety and security grants.
  •   $18.6 million for formula-based school safety and security meritorious grants.
  •   $14.5 million for targeted school safety grants for nonpublic schools.

Applications and information about each of these grants, including eligibility criteria and application instructions, can be found on PCCD’s School Safety and Security webpage. PCCD staff will also host informational webinars and provide other resources to assist school entities and eligible applicants as they navigate these funding opportunities.

The seven-week application period will close on Thursday, Feb. 29.
Applications Now Being Accepted for Fishing, Boating Education Grants

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is now taking applications for its popular R3 Education Grant Program through March 1.

The R3 grant program was established to support partner organizations by providing hands-on education for the “recruitment, retention and reactivation” of anglers and boaters in Pennsylvania.

Organizations eligible for funding include school districts, universities and colleges, community and civic groups, sporting and conservation organizations, and local recreation departments.

The grants reimburse qualifying organizations up to $25,000 for eligible expenses for projects conducted from approximately July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025. The grant requires a minimum 25% match of total project costs. At this time, applications for multi-year grants are not being accepted.

More information about the R3 grant program can be found here.
Out and About

Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting fourth grade students from Conewago Elementary School for a tour of the state Capitol. They were a fun bunch with a lot of great questions and they really enjoyed seeing the House of Representatives chamber, which is currently undergoing roof repairs.

On Wednesday, I participated in a public hearing of the House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee on House Bill 1077, which aims to reauthorize and improve certain protections for water, gas and electric customers in the state.

It was great spending time with students from East Hanover Elementary School this week during their field trip to the Capitol to learn about state government. They were very enthusiastic and had some fantastic questions for me.