Jun. 14, 2019

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Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended Until Dec. 31
 
Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities now have until Dec. 31 to apply for the state’s 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. The original deadline was June 30.

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. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.

As of June 1, the department had received 432,411 rebate applications. As specified by law, rebate distributions cannot begin until July 1. After June 30, rebates will be distributed as claims are received and processed. Applications typically take six to eight weeks to process.

For the 2017 program year, more than $253 million was paid to income-eligible seniors and people with disabilities who applied for rebates on rent and property taxes.

Applicants may obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information on the Department of Revenue’s website or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190. We also have the applications available in our district offices.

It’s free to apply for a rebate, and the department reminds applicants that free assistance is available at hundreds of locations across the state, including Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and state legislators’ offices.

Claimants who already applied for rebates may check Property Tax/Rent Rebate Status online or call, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES.


The Arc Susquehanna Valley Visits Capitol

 
On June 11, the Arc Susquehanna Valley traveled to the Capitol for their legislative rally. The Arc Susquehanna Valley is an organization comprised of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, friends, interested citizens and professionals in the field. They are dedicated to the advancement of the well-being of its constituency.

I was very happy to get the chance to speak with Robert Roush, executive director; and Deb Brubaker, president of the Board of Directors.
                         

Chamber Day at the Capitol
On June 4, more than 90 state and local chamber representatives from across the Commonwealth gathered in Harrisburg for the 2019 Chamber Day at the Capitol.

The annual event is co-hosted by the PA Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals during one of the busiest times of the year in the Capitol, as state elected officials work to finalize the 2019-20 budget. The event provides a forum for constructive dialogue between local chamber officers and policymakers on key issues important to the state’s business community and the best ways to improve the Commonwealth’s business climate.

 
With the Central PA Chamber staff. From left to right: Jeff Shaffer, communications director; myself; Jessica Williams, finance & membership director; Tea Jay Aikey, president & CEO; and Michael Porter, education coordinator.
 

Residents Receive Awards, Commendations
On Sunday, June 9, Pastor Ryan Krauss and Paul Hoffman were awarded and recognized for their dedicated service during a special presentation at the Watsontown United Methodist Church.

Pastor Krauss was awarded the Cross and Flame Award, a proclamation from Watsontown Borough, commendations from the Lewisburg School District superintendent, the Susquehanna Conference Bishop and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Mr. Hoffman was awarded the Cross and Flame Award, and commendations from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Congratulations to Pastor Krauss and Mr. Hoffman on your achievements and thank you for your service and dedication to the community!

 
From left to right: Myself; Russell McClintock, mayor of Watsontown; Pastor Ryan Krauss; Paul Hoffman; and Harry Hefty, chartered organization representative of Scout Troop 610.
 

Boy Scouts of America Visit the Capitol
 
On Tuesday, June 11, over 100 Scouts and leaders from across Pennsylvania came to the Capitol to present the second annual Report to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

As the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was created by an act of Congress, it is required to present a report to the U.S. Congress each year. We receive the report at the state level so we can learn about the good work the BSA is doing and how the program continues to evolve to meet the needs of our youth.
The BSA has a profound influence on the lives of the Scouts, their family members, churches, community groups, government, people of all ages and walks of life.

Thank you to the Boy Scouts of America for your dedication to community service and improving the lives of Pennsylvanian's everywhere!


Bass Season Begins on Saturday, June 15
This Saturday, June 15, marks the statewide start of bass season.
Among Pennsylvania’s most abundant, adaptive and popular sport fishes, smallmouth and largemouth bass can be found in warm-water rivers, streams and lakes across the Commonwealth; while spotted bass inhabit the large, impounded rivers of southwest Pennsylvania. Notoriously aggressive feeders, bass can be caught on a wide variety of tackle from live bait, fast-moving spinners and topwater poppers.

Anglers are required to possess a Pennsylvania fishing license, which can be purchased online at gonefishingpa.com or in a certified brick-and-mortar retailer. Click here to locate licensed agents in the area. Anglers are given options of 1-year, 3-year, 5-year and 10-year licenses, with additional discounts and lengths for seniors and veterans.

Rules and regulations regarding size and creel limits for those planning to keep fish can be found here.
 

Ensuring Sexual Harassment is not Hidden
Recognizing the rampant problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, the House approved legislation this week to help prevent these offenses – and the offenders – from being hidden and dealt with.

House Bill 849 would prohibit employers from requiring employees and prospective employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement related to sexual harassment as a condition of employment.

This would ensure workers who face sexual harassment in the workplace can exercise their voice to report such egregious offenses they may suffer at the hands of a co-worker or superior.

Employees and employers would still be able to voluntarily enter into such agreements.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
 

Lowering Health Insurance Costs

Pennsylvanians who buy their health insurance on the federal exchange could see lower prices under legislation adopted by the House this week.

House Bill 3 would establish a state-based health insurance exchange and reinsurance program, an option offered by the President’s administration and supported by the Governor’s administration as a means for helping make health care more affordable for Commonwealth citizens.

The proposal is also expected to save taxpayer money, as the cost of the state running its own exchange is expected to be about half the cost of fees currently being paid to the federal government to run it for us.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
 

Attention Hunters! Licenses Go on Sale Monday, June 17
Hunting licenses for the 2019-20 hunting season go on sale this Monday, June 17, across the state.

All license buyers will receive a complimentary copy of the 2019-20 Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest. A pocket guide for the upcoming season, including key details about general hunting regulations, hunting hours, fluorescent orange requirements, a map of the Wildlife Management Units and season dates and bag limits, is also available to be printed.

Click here to find a licensing agent near you. Click here to purchase your new license online (on or after June 17).

For more information about hunting seasons, safety and more, visit pgc.pa.gov.
 

Beware of Financial Aid Scams Targeting Unsuspecting Students and Borrowers
 
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency is warning students and borrowers to be wary of financial aid scams that could expose them to identity theft and significant financial loss.

The most effective way to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to be alert and vigilant when asked to provide any form of personal information or when engaging in financial transactions.
Recent scams include:

• Student loan forgiveness scams in which complete forgiveness is guaranteed in exchange for a fee.
• Tuition scams in which someone claiming to work for your school’s administrative office calls to warn you that your tuition is late and you risk being dropped from class unless you pay immediately. Hang up and contact your school directly.
• Students and borrowers are also commonly targeted with unnecessary fees for services that can be easily accessed for free.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends the following tips to avoid scams:

• Don’t share your Social Security number, credit card information, or account passwords.
• Never pay up front for a promised prize. It’s a scam if you are told that you must pay fees or taxes to receive a prize or other financial windfall.
• After hearing a sales pitch, take the time to compare prices. Ask for information in writing and read it carefully.
• Too good to be true? Ask yourself why someone is trying so hard to give you a “great deal.” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Watch out for deals that are only “good today” and pressure you to act quickly. Walk away from high-pressure sales tactics that don’t allow you time to read a contract or get legal advice before signing. Also, don’t fall for the sales pitch that says you need to pay immediately, for example by wiring the money or sending it by courier.
• Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Go to donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222.

If you believe that you have been targeted or victimized by a scam, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, the CFPB, or the Federal Trade Commission.     
             
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106 Arch Street, Sunbury, PA 17801 | (570) 286-5885 | 1-800-924-9060 | Fax: (570) 988-1627
402B Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202108, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2108 | (717) 787-3485 | Fax: (717) 782-2892
Email: lculver@pahousegop.com
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