Feb. 11, 2023

Capitol Report
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Kutz Bill Would Support First-Time Homebuyers

Home ownership is a big step for young families. It’s also a big step for families to be able to begin building equity in a home and move from renting to owning. Last week, the Executive Director at the Independent Fiscal Office testified in a hearing I attended that first time homebuyers are being priced out of the market due to rising home costs and mortgage interest rates. I’m introducing legislation to help first-time homebuyers by removing an obstacle to home ownership.

My legislation would exempt first-time homebuyers from paying the Realty Transfer Tax, one of many taxes and fees at closing that require homebuyers to pay several thousand dollars for closing costs. In Pennsylvania, the Realty Transfer Tax is a minimum of 1% on the value of real estate that is paid when real estate changes ownership. By providing an exemption for this tax, we can encourage young families to buy homes here and plant their roots here in Pennsylvania. This is just one way that we can work to make Pennsylvania a welcoming place to start a family and to build a life and a home.

Home ownership remains one of the best ways to build wealth, and paying an extra tax for the privilege of owning a home is just one more barrier that prevents young people and families from being financially secure and contributing to our local economies. By removing obstacles to opportunity, whether for owning a home or starting a small business, we can help make Pennsylvania prosperous for generations and help improve the quality of life for everyone in our community.

You can learn more about this proposal here.  
Rep. Kutz Announces Fire, EMS Grants

I’m thrilled to share that Cumberland County’s fire and emergency response organizations were awarded almost $470,000 in funding through the Fire and Emergency Services Grant Program. Grants were awarded for many agencies within the 87th Legislative District, including Citizens Fire Co. No 1, Lisburn Fire Company, Lower Allen Fire, Lower Allen EMS, Monroe Fire Company, Upper Allen Township Fire Department, and Yellow Breeches EMS. You can view the full list here.

The funding comes from an ongoing grant program created by the Legislature and administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC). All funding comes from the proceeds from slot machine gaming and not General Fund tax revenue.

Projects eligible for funding include construction or renovation of a fire or ambulance company facility, purchase or repair of equipment, training, or reduction of existing debt. All companies that apply and meet requirements outlined by OSFC receive funding. Companies must file a grant agreement with OSFC to receive their grants.
House Republican Policy Committee Holds Hearing on Energy Costs

I recently had a constituent tell me about how drastic his utility bills had increased in a short time—an increase many of us have seen in our homes, our offices, and for our families. The rising cost of energy brings challenges not only for our own bills, but also as it drives up the costs of goods and services.

Members of the House Republican Policy Committee held a hearing at the state Capitol this week to address this burden. We heard from testifiers about the challenges facing our energy providers and about the impact of energy prices on consumers. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in the House to find solutions to our energy crisis when the House returns to session later this month.

Video of the hearing is available here.  
Pick Up Pennsylvania Registration Now Open

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has announced registration is open for the 2023 Pick Up Pennsylvania, a community improvement initiative.

Pick Up Pennsylvania is a year-long program; however, events scheduled from March 1 through May 31 receive free trash bags, gloves and safety vests provided by support from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT and Keep America Beautiful, as supplies last.

Events can include litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, community greening and beautification, special collections, and education events.  

Click here to learn more, including how to register your group.
PennDOT Offers Highway Safety Survey

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking public input on traffic safety and driving behaviors through its online survey found at www.PennDOT.pa.gov/Safety.

The survey seeks information on motorists’ behavior behind the wheel to help inform program planning. This voluntary survey covers several topics including seat belt use, impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving, as well as bicycle, pedestrian and motorcycle safety.

The survey is available on PennDOT’s website through Feb. 28 and should take about five minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous.