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In this email update:
PTCC Town Hall Meeting on property tax relief efforts
On Thursday, October 19, the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition (PTCC) will hold a town hall meeting to discuss property taxes. The meeting will take place at the Good Will Hose Company in Cressona from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.
During this event, the coalition will provide an in-depth review of property tax relief efforts that have failed in the past, the negative consequences we will face if school property taxes continue to rise, as well as the benefits of the complete elimination of school property taxes.
Attendees will be able to participate and ask questions during the meeting.
For more information about the event, please click here.
Senate Bill 76 supporters hear the plight of Pennsylvania’s homeowners
Senator Mike Folmer (R-Dauphin/Lebanon/York), a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 76, recently highlighted the efforts of property tax elimination advocates. In this column, Senator Folmer discusses the work of Jim Rodkey, a resident of Lebanon and a key advocate of school property tax elimination.
Mr. Rodkey received a standing ovation for his remarks at a property tax forum we held in Lancaster County with Senators Aument and Martin back in August.
During his remarks, Mr. Rodkey noted that while traveling across Pennsylvania with his wife Sue, they have listened to countless stories from homeowners who have been forced to sacrifice necessities such as food and medication in order to save their homes, as well as homeowners who will soon be left with no choice but to leave their homes because of the skyrocketing property taxes.
Advocates like Mr. Rodkey have called the status quo “legal plunder” and have many times asked, “Do we continue to ignore the plight of citizens to protect the status quo? Do we continue to accept 10,000 people a year losing their homes due to a broken system? Why are 45,000 residents – one every 11 ½ minutes leaving Pennsylvania to escape taxes?”
It is evident that something needs to be done immediately.
A special thanks to Mr. Rodkey and the many other advocates who have dedicated their time and effort to help us in this battle.
You can read Senator Folmer’s full column here.
Roundtable discussion on property tax reform in Allegheny County
As a continuation of our bipartisan statewide efforts to eliminate school property taxes, this week I traveled to the Pittsburgh area to join Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) to discuss this issue.
During the event, I discussed the components of Senate Bill 76, as well as the proposed constitutional amendment that would permit the General Assembly to enact legislation to expand the homestead exclusion to exclude up to 100 percent of the assessed value of a homestead property.
To date, the Senate Policy Committee has held the following property tax meetings across the state:
These discussions provide a good opportunity for all of us to review many different alternatives to tackle these difficult issues and to ask local people for their input and suggestions.
Strengthening welfare reform in Pennsylvania
Combatting welfare abuse in Pennsylvania is critical, and the goal of welfare reform is to clean up the system’s waste and fraud so that we can afford to provide additional assistance to the truly needy.
In an editorial recently published by the Tribune-Democrat titled, Tightening Welfare Rules is Necessary, the article highlights the Public Assistance Integrity Act as laid out in Senate Bill 6.
Senate Bill 6, which was introduced by Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York), seeks to eliminate welfare fraud by strengthening benefit eligibility criteria, limiting the use of access devices and increasing penalties for instances of willful fraud. Some of the major components of the bill include:
The Senate passed Senate Bill 6 by a vote of 40-9 in July, and the bill is now waiting to be reviewed by the House.
This initiative is similar to a bill I proposed with Senator Joe Scarnati which sought to strengthen the integrity of our public welfare system and ensure those with genuine need would continue to receive the assistance and resources for which they are eligible.
You can read the editorial from the Tribune-Democrat here.
Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association Legislative Roundtable event
Last Friday, I joined my colleagues from the Senate and House of Representatives at the Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association Legislative Roundtable event in Barnesville.
During this bipartisan roundtable, we discussed several key state-related issues including taxes, paycheck protection, minimum wage and the state budget.
House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees to hold meeting on Spotted Lanternfly
On Wednesday, October 18, the House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees will be holding a joint meeting to discuss the Spotted Lanternfly.
This non-native species was first discovered in Berks County in 2014 and poses a significant threat to our fruit and hardwood industries. Quarantines have been established in the following counties: Berks; Bucks; Chester; Lehigh; Montgomery; and Northampton Counties.
The purpose of this meeting is to provide citizens with information about the Spotted Lanternfly, particularly with regards to its damaging effects and ways to combat the further spread of this invasive species.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Spotted Lanternfly threatens the following fruit items and industries: $20.5 million grape; nearly $134 million apple; over $24 million stone fruit; and $12 billion hardwood industries.
The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. in Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, please click here.
REAL ID enforcement grace period extended to Pennsylvania
The Department of Homeland Security has extended a REAL ID enforcement grace period to Pennsylvania through January 22, 2018.
This grace period allows Pennsylvanians to enter federal facilities without experiencing any access issues through January 22, 2018. The grace period began this past Wednesday, October 11.
PennDOT estimates that the REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards will be available at the choice of residents in March 2019.
For more information about the REAL ID program, click here.
Fire Prevention Week in Pennsylvania
As we continue to recognize Fire Prevention Week in Pennsylvania, below you will find some tips to keep you, your home and your loved ones safe:
PLCB Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has begun its annual Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest.
Pennsylvania students in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit posters highlighting the dangers of underage drinking and alcohol abuse and the importance of saying no to alcohol.
Entries must be postmarked by Friday, November 17, 2017.
For more information about the contest and guidelines, please click here.
Pictured below are last year’s poster contest winners from Berks and Schuylkill Counties:
The Senate is scheduled to convene on Monday, October 16 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and view the voting calendar on my website.