Feb. 17, 2023

Capitol Report
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Rep. Kutz, Policy Committee Holds Hearing to Highlight Needs of First Responders

Click here to view video.

With police, fire and emergency medical services agencies across the state struggling with financial and personnel challenges, the House Republican Policy Committee convened a hearing Wednesday at the Capitol to gather feedback on solutions to these problems. I asked testifiers about the role new technology plays in aiding law enforcement officers and how that cost has changed first responders’ needs. First responders are constantly adapting to include new technologies to be able to serve our community in safer ways.

According to the law enforcement panel, recruitment of law enforcement officers is dropping to crisis levels, while retention rates are also decreasing. State and local law enforcement agencies are left with fewer officers to meet the increased responsibilities for protecting our communities.

Fire and emergency medical services (EMS) agencies are also struggling with personnel and financial challenges that imperil their ability to respond. I appreciated the frank conversation with industry leaders about how we can work together to address these issues through the budget process and by bolstering efforts for recruitment and retention of first responders in all disciplines.

Video of the hearing is available at www.PAGOPPolicy.com.
House Returns to Session Tuesday

The House will return to Session on Tuesday, and I am eager to get to work. The first order of business will be to adopt operating rules for the chamber. I am excited to work with my House colleagues to advance a number of legislative priorities this session that will provide a meaningful and positive impact for our community.

I will be sponsoring legislation this session to remove obstacles to opportunity for all Pennsylvanians by aiding small businesses, helping first-time homebuyers make the transition to home ownership, making Pennsylvania more competitive, and a number of other bills. I will continue to share updates with you about legislation I’m supporting. You can learn more about what legislation I’m sponsoring on my website at www.RepKutz.com..
Rep. Kutz Talks Fish and Boat Programs at Outdoor Show

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I enjoyed catching up with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Tim Schaeffer at the Great American Outdoor Show last week. Thanks to Tim and the team for helpful information about trout stocking schedules, safe boating, and an update on the work at Children’s Lake. We have great waters for fishing and boating here in Cumberland County, including the Yellow Breeches and Conodoguinet Creeks. Mentored Youth Opening Day of Trout is March 25 and statewide Opening Day is April 1.
Tax Policy Subject of Roundtable Discussion

The House Republican Appropriations Committee tackled tax policy at its latest roundtable discussion. The committee hosted tax experts from the Pew Research Center, the Tax Foundation, Americans for Prosperity and the Commonwealth Foundation for their insight into Pennsylvania’s tax policy and its impact on residents and state budgeting.

One expert said Pennsylvania is facing three main problems that can be traced back to tax policy: labor shortages, a declining population of working-age residents, and an uncompetitive tax structure. Another expert recommended policymakers put more importance on the long-term structural balance of the state’s overall finances versus annual short-term budgets. All agreed the Commonwealth must be more competitive with other states and create more positive tax changes to attract more businesses.

I’m committed to making Pennsylvania more competitive. Pennsylvania is currently stepping down the Corporate Net Income Tax annually until 2031 until it reaches 4.99%. This is an important step to making Pennsylvania more business-friendly, but we can do more. I’m sponsoring legislation to aid small businesses by allowing them to recognize Net Operating Losses and I’m eager to meet with more business owners to discuss common sense solutions that help small businesses. As we continue to find ways to reform our tax structure, we must also find ways to provide relief to hardworking Pennsylvanians and seniors who are struggling with the rising costs of housing, goods, and services.

To watch the full discussion, click here.
Attention Medical Assistance and CHIP Enrollees

Effective April 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) will return to normal renewal processing procedures for Pennsylvanians enrolled in Medical Assistance and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

That means all Medical Assistance and CHIP recipients will need to complete an annual renewal to see if they are still eligible for coverage. Renewals will be completed over 12 months. Renewals due in March 2023 will be the first affected by this change.

To ensure you receive timely information about your coverage, it is important to ensure DHS has accurate information on hand. Updates about your contact information and the number of people living in your household can be made via www.dhs.pa.gov/compass.

Click here for more information.