In this Edition:
School Property Tax Update
Many individuals have contacted me asking for an update as to where school property tax reform/elimination currently stands and have shared my same concerns over the perceived “lack of action” on getting a proposal passed. The non-movement of Senate Bill 76 in particular is not the fault of Monroe or Northampton County legislators (specifically Senator Boscola and myself and Representatives Brown, Rader, Emrick, Hahn and Mako) as all have consistently sponsored and voted for elimination and other property tax reform proposals.
I have voted three times to pass SB 76 (the Property Tax Elimination Act), which proposes elimination of local school property taxes by shifting education funding onto the personal income tax and sales tax. The vote last session failed 24-24, with the Lieutenant Governor breaking the tie and voting against the bill. This was frustrating since 28 Senators were listed as co-sponsors on the bill, with several jumping ship before the actual vote.
The delays with SB 76 are due to the coalition who is opposed to any version of school property tax reform, an influential group which includes the PA Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, PA Retailers Association, PA School Boards Association and PA Bar Association. In addition, as the prospects for passage of SB 76 have improved, the school districts are now pressuring legislators who have sponsored this bill to back off – and it appears to be working.
There are only 20 co-sponsors of SB 76 so far and Senate leadership will not run the bill until it has enough committed votes to pass. We are working to get past and current sponsors in the same room to try and solidify support. With five new senators this session, some of whom ran on property tax reform and replaced senators who were previously opposed to the bill, we are hopeful they will affirm their support of the bill.
If you missed it, I would encourage you to watch my recent video segment with Senator Dave Argall regarding SB 76: https://pasen.wistia.com/medias/whzk2e9zuc
One other option is still on the table, a proposal which the House and Senate both passed last year – House Bill 147, which would allow for elimination of residential school property taxes on owner-occupied residences through an expansion of the Homestead Exclusion. Some legislators are concerned about fully eliminating taxes on commercial properties, so this bill is viewed as a fallback option focusing just on school property taxes for residential properties to make homeownership affordable.
Since HB 147 is a constitutional amendment, it must pass in two consecutive legislative sessions and then go to the voters for approval on the ballot. We anticipate the bill will receive a second vote this year and be placed on the ballot soon for voter approval.
In the meantime, I encourage you to contact past supporters of SB 76, and new legislators, to ask for their support.
Free Fall Prevention and Balance Screening
I will continue my Healthy Living Series in partnership with Good Shepherd Physical Therapy to offer a free Fall Prevention and Balance Screening at my Pen Argyl District Office on Tuesday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to noon (2 N. Robinson Avenue, Pen Argyl).
A physical therapist will be present to perform a Balance and Fall Risk Assessment by conducting a timed sitting and walking exercise. Tips and information will also be provided to help individuals complete a fall prevention self-assessment, which is a checklist of items to check around the house to prevent falls.
This balance screening will help provide constituents with the information they need to safely navigate their homes. Injuries due to falls can be prevented and it is important that individuals know how to identify the risks and respond proactively.
To schedule a free appointment, please my office at 610-863-1200.
Free College and Career Fair on April 27
On Thursday, April 27 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., I will be hosting a free College & Career Fair at Nazareth Area High School. The fair includes exhibitors for people of all ages looking for a career change or to further their education. Special informational sessions for parents with children heading to college will detail how to navigate the financial aid process.
April Legislative Report: Teen Challenge
In the April edition of my Legislative Report, I join Senator David Argall for an interview with Kris McFadden of Teen Challenge Training Center. Teen Challenge is a faith-based, adult, residential, state-licensed rehabilitation program for men and women struggling with chemical addiction. Many lives have been restored through the programs offered by Teen Challenge, including many within the 40th Senate District. As the Commonwealth continues to address the drug epidemic, Teen Challenge is providing invaluable help to those struggling with addiction and facilitating their long-term recovery.
Around the 40th District
Local Eagle Scout Ryan Stewart Recognized
East Stroudsburg Borough Manager Jim Phillips Honored
Rescue Fire Company No. 1 Honors Volunteers
Jane Martin Celebrates 100th Birthday
Ray Price Ford Celebrates Grand Opening
Senator Scavello Attends East Stroudsburg High School South Career Fair
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If you have a public event benefiting our community in Monroe or Northampton Counties, please feel free to contact my office at (570) 620-4326 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org to include the event in my E-Newsletter at no charge. Requests should include details about the community event such as the time, location and the public purpose.
Senate Box 203040
2989 Route 611, Suite 103
Tannersville, PA 18372
Phone (570) 620-4326
FAX (570) 620-4379
8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Northampton County Office