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Cost-saving Legislation for Schools Sent to Governor
My legislation that will allow school districts to save thousands of dollars in annual mailing costs recently received final legislative approval and awaits the Governor’s signature into law.
Senate Bill 1077, which was approved by a 193-2 vote in the House of Representatives, eliminates the mandate that school districts annually inform parents by physical mailing when the district uses audio and video recording to identify and address discipline issues on school buses.
The mailer mandate was included as part of Act 9 of 2014, which gave school districts the ability to use audio recordings on school buses. Instead of the physical mailing, which can easily cost thousands of dollars each year, schools must post notice of the policy in the student handbook as well as on the school’s website. School districts are expected to save thousands of dollars in mailing and postage expenses as a result.
Property Tax Elimination Constitutional Amendment Approved by Senate
Last week, I voted for and the Senate approved a proposed Constitutional amendment to eliminate school property taxes on residential property.
Currently, the Pennsylvania Constitution allows local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation up to 50% of the median assessed value of homestead property within the taxing district. This is known as the Homestead Exclusion and, generally, most homeowners in Pennsylvania have had their property tax bill lowered because of it. House Bill 147 would increase the allowable exclusion to 100%, thereby eliminating the school property tax on residential property.
I’ve heard from hundreds and thousands of homeowners that are punished year after year with ever-increasing property tax bills with no end in sight. Last November, I voted to eliminate the school property tax, but that bill was defeated by one vote cast by the Lieutenant Governor. The method may be different this time (Constitutional amendment rather than a traditional bill), but the goal is the same: the end of the school property tax on homes.
Because this is a Constitutional amendment, it will have to be passed in consecutive legislative sessions (2015-16, 2016-17) and then approved by the voters by referendum. I will continue to support this Constitutional amendment to eliminate the school property tax on residential properties.
Legislature Acts to Protect PA Energy Jobs
I voted for and the Senate and House of Representatives approved legislation to protect family-sustaining Pennsylvania jobs placed at risk by President Obama’s new federal regulations.
Senate Bill 1195 provides procedures for lawmakers’ consideration of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s implementation strategy for the “Clean Power Plan” before its submission to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
This legislation is a compromise between the General Assembly and Governor Wolf that provides important safeguards to protect local energy-producing industries and the thousands of workers they employ from overreaching regulations promulgated by the federal government.
Senate Bill 1195 now awaits the Governor’s signature into law.
Battery B Memorial Highway Legislation Signed into Law
Last week, my legislation designating the section of State Routes 108 and 551 in Lawrence County from the intersection of State Route 108 and Old Hickory Road at the Battery B Monument to State Route 551 ending at the railroad tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Enon Valley as the “Battery B Memorial Highway” was signed into law as Act 46 of 2016.
There will be a small ceremony on June 28th at 7:00 pm in remembrance of Battery B at the Battery B Monument in Mt. Jackson.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended to End of Year
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program deadline for older adults and residents with disabilities to apply for rebates of rent and property taxes paid in 2015 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2016.
Each year the department evaluates the program as the statutory June 30 application deadline approaches to determine if funds are available to extend the deadline. To date, funding has been available to allow all who qualify to take advantage of this tax relief.
Applicants may obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information at my district offices, online at www.revenue.pa.gov, or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190.
It costs nothing to apply for a rebate and application assistance is provided at all of my district offices.
To check the status of your rebate once you’ve applied, click here or call, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES.
2016 PA Fair Guide Now Available
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Senate Box 203047