Mar. 01, 2024

 
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#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

In this Edition:
  •   Elections, Health Care, Energy Issues Highlight Budget Hearings
  •   Out and About in the 106th District
  •   Property Tax/Rent Rebate, Personal Income Tax Assistance Available
  •   PHEAA Announces Financial Aid, Refinancing Webinars
  •   PPL Offers ‘Bill Help’
  •   Grants Support Future of PA Farming
  •   Learn About Trout Rodeo, Health Expo, Other Events
 
 
Elections, Health Care, Energy Issues Highlight Budget Hearings


The House Appropriations Committee continued its review of the governor’s $48.3 billion budget proposal for the upcoming 2024-25 fiscal year.

Election preparations and the constitutional requirement for uniform elections across the Commonwealth took center stage during the hearing with the Department of State Tuesday. That was followed by a session with the departments of Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs, which focused heavily on costs of and access to existing services, and concerns about the loss of several hospitals in the state.

The importance of growing the state’s energy industry was a main focus of the hearing with the Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday.

The final week of hearings kicks off on Monday, March 4, with the Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania State Police. Also on the schedule are the departments of Education and Human Services. The hearings conclude Thursday with the governor’s Budget Office.

For a full schedule, click here.

To watch live streams of the hearings, or video of past hearings, visit PAHouseGOP.com.
 
 
Out and About in the 106th District

The Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors hosted a listening session to gather information about school funding and transportation. As you may know, it has been a year since the Commonwealth Court declared the current system of school funding in Pennsylvania to be unconstitutional. School funding is a hot topic in the halls of the Capitol, so I appreciated the opportunity last week to participate in the event.

Dr. Karen Kim was named dean of Penn State College of Medicine in 2023. Not only does she lead education, research and clinical missions, but she also plays a critical role in shaping the academic health system. We recently had a great discussion.
 
 
Property Tax/Rent Rebate, Personal Income Tax Assistance Available


Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will visit senior and community centers across the Commonwealth over the next several weeks to help Pennsylvanians who need assistance filing their Property Tax/Rent Rebate (PTRR) program applications.

Locally, Revenue personnel will be at the East Hanover Senior Center, 8848 Jonestown Road, Grantville, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 21.

Roughly 175,000 people are newly eligible for a rebate under the program's recent expansion. Customers are encouraged to call their preferred location ahead of time to verify availability and make an appointment.

Applicants who need assistance with the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program application (PA-1000) should check the eligibility guidelines on the PTRR Program. The new claim season for the recent expansion of the PTRR program opened on Jan. 16. 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.

Taxpayers who need assistance with the Pennsylvania personal income tax return (PA-40) should bring their tax information/income statements, a photo identification card (driver's license, etc.), and Social Security cards for themselves and their dependents. As a reminder, all taxpayers who received more than $33 in total gross taxable income in calendar year 2023 must file a Pennsylvania personal income tax return by midnight, Monday, April 15, 2024.

 
 
PHEAA Announces Financial Aid, Refinancing Webinars


The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is hosting webinars in March aimed at helping students and families understand financial aid and loan repayment.

The webinar entitled “Refinancing Education Debt – Is it Right for Me?” will be offered at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5. This one-hour session will be helpful to current or previous students of any age who have student loans and may be overwhelmed with their current repayment options or are moving closer to the repayment phase and wonder if refinancing may be a better solution.

The webinar entitled “Financial Aid Timeline – Know What to Do When” will be offered at noon on Thursday, March 7, and again at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26. This one-hour presentation will provide the starting points and web resources for effective research before, during and after your student makes post-secondary education decisions.

Finally, the webinar titled “Understanding the Offer Letter and Balances” will be held at noon on Thursday, March 28, to help recipients understand what is being offered and to ultimately make knowledgeable and affordable decisions.

Additional topics will be addressed during webinars planned for April. For a full schedule, and to register your participation, visit www.pheaa.org/virtual.
 
 
PPL Offers ‘Bill Help’

PPL offers assistance programs for income-eligible residential customers, including fixed monthly payments and referrals to energy-saving programs. It also has several ways to halt service termination, including presenting a medical certification. More information is available here.
 
 
Grants Support Future of PA Farming


The Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center is now taking applications for $500,000 in Farm Vitality Planning Grants. The grants support strategic business planning to expand or diversify farms, or transition of ownership.

Farmers and prospective farmers are eligible for up to $7,500 to reimburse up to 75% of project planning costs. Applications will be accepted until funds are expended.

Apply online through the Department of Community and Economic Development's single electronic application.  

Full program guidelines are published in the February 17 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
 
 
Learn About Trout Rodeo, Health Expo, Other Events

I have been busy planning a number of upcoming events, including a Trout Rodeo for children on Saturday, April 13, and Health Expo to be held Thursday, May 2. Click here to learn more about events designed to serve you.
 
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