A quick look at what’s happening in Harrisburg
and the 125th Legislative District...
Property Tax Independence Act Reintroduced This Week
Earlier this week, I joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to introduce the Property Tax Independence Act in Harrisburg. House Bill 76 and its companion, Senate Bill 76, known as the Property Tax Independence Act, would replace revenues currently collected through school district property taxes with alternative, statewide funding sources.
The state sales tax would be raised from 6 percent to 7 percent, and the Personal Income Tax would increase from 3.07 percent to 4.34 percent. Both bills also would close some special interest loopholes in the sales and use tax. Together with some existing gaming revenues, these dollars would be used to replace school district property taxes. The calculations in the legislation were based on a thorough analysis conducted last session by the Independent Fiscal Office. Click here for more information on HB 76.
|Senior Property Tax Relief Bill Heads to House
Also earlier this week, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee voted in favor of House Bill 658, the Senior Citizen Property Tax Reduction Exchange Program. This legislation would allow school districts to set up programs in which senior citizens volunteer in the school district they reside and receive a property tax credit in exchange for their services. Those services could include tutoring children, monitoring classrooms or the cafeteria, helping in the library or office, assisting with afterschool programs, as well as a variety of similar mentoring activities.
This legislation would set up a program in which senior volunteers would receive a property tax credit at a rate of $5 per hour, not exceeding the total amount of property taxes that are owed, in exchange for providing mentoring and other services that enhance the academic program of school districts. School districts would have the authority to set up specific regulations over the criteria for acceptance, and this legislation would not interfere with already existing employees of the school district. This bill now heads to the full House for consideration.
|Satellite Office Hours Return in Tilden Township and Valley View Next Thursday
1012 West Main St., Valley View
First and third Thursday of each month, from 3-6 p.m.
Starting next week, a representative from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) will be at our Valley View satellite office hours.
Tilden Township Building (lower level)
874 Hex Highway, Hamburg
First and third Thursday of every month, from 4-7 p.m.
|March is Dog License Awareness Month in Pennsylvania
March has been designated as “Dog License Awareness Month” in the Commonwealth. As part of the observance, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is sponsoring a poster contest for students in first through sixth grades, calling on them to create a poster about the importance of dog licensing.
The grand prize winner will receive a $20 cash prize and his or her poster will be featured on the cover of the 2014 Dog Law Enforcement Office Coloring Book. The deadline for submitting a poster is April 30.
State law requires all dogs three months and older to be licensed each year. Owners who fail to license their dogs could face a fine of up to $300 for each unlicensed animal.
An annual dog license costs $8.45 and a lifetime license is $51.45. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.45 and the lifetime license is $31.45. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities. Dog licenses can be purchased from a county treasurer or another licensing agent, including retail stores and veterinarian offices. They can also be purchased online, in some cases.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s dog licensing law or the poster contest, please visit www.licenseyourdogPA.com.
|LIHEAP to Close on March 29
Although spring is almost in sight, March can bring with it cold temperatures and that can keep home heating bills high. For some individuals and families, one more high heating bill or a broken furnace could signal financial disaster. That’s why the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program was created, and why we encourage people who are facing a need to apply for it.
LIHEAP helps low-income people pay their heating bills through home energy assistance grants and crisis grants. The program closes for the season on Friday, March 29.
For more information about the program, including eligibility guidelines, uses for the grants and availability of applications, click here.