Jun. 23, 2023

Capitol Report
The latest news from the State Capitol
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Rep. Kutz Tours Wee Little Lambs in Mt. Holly

This morning, I had the opportunity to tour Wee Little Lambs Early Learning Center in Mt. Holly Springs. It was such a pleasure to spend the morning with our future leaders, read with them and tour the center.

Rep. Kutz Advocates for Cumberland County Schools
Click here to view video.

This week, I offered an amendment that would take into consideration population growth when allocating state tax dollars to build schools.

Cumberland County is the fastest growing county in the Commonwealth and is home to some of the fastest growing school districts. As these districts are faced with decisions about building schools, they should have the state resources necessary to accommodate the growth they face. This will help keep property taxes from going up and will help Cumberland County schools to provide ample space for all its students.
House Passes Child Care Tax Credit to Support Working Families

Last week, the House passed legislation to help Pennsylvania parents return to the workplace.

With the rising cost of child care, caregivers are delaying their return to the workforce. As of September 2021, nearly 1.6 million mothers of children under 17 have not returned to their jobs, chiefly because many families find it more cost-efficient for one parent to remain at home rather than pay for day care or summer camp.

In Pennsylvania, child care for one child averages almost $12,000 annually. A survey conducted in 2021 showed 85% of parents are spending 10% or more of their household income on child care.

House Bill 1259 will build upon the existing child care tax credit that was passed as part of the 2022-23 state budget by providing a stepped, yearly increase to the credit. This incremental approach will ensure the credit keeps up with rising costs over time and keeps people at work.

This bill passed with bipartisan support, and now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

Higher Education Funding Debate Heats Up in the House

Determining how much of your tax money is provided to Pennsylvania’s public universities is one part of our ongoing budget process in Harrisburg. This week, the debate over how best to support Pennsylvania’s students, families and university staff began, and will continue into next week.

In the budget hearings I participated in earlier this year, leaders of Penn State, Temple University and the University of Pittsburgh all pledged to raise tuition, even if they received a proposed 7% increase in state funding compared to last year.

By comparison, state system universities (such as Millersville, Shippensburg, Mansfield and others) have promised to freeze tuition if their system receives a 2% increase.

I am committed to supporting student-first, family-focused education that is accessible to all Pennsylvanians. I also have been an advocate for our technical and veterinary schools that have tremendous job placement ratings. But there are concerns over how your tax money that reaches our largest state universities, which last year totaled nearly $600 million, is spent. If those dollars are not working to truly help educate and empower Pennsylvania’s future leaders, employers, and history makers, then we are not investing it the right way.

I look forward to continued conversations on this issue.
Take Part in Statewide Broadband Connectivity, Digital Access Survey

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) is encouraging residents across the Commonwealth to take part in a public survey to help identify the areas of greatest need for improved broadband connectivity and digital access.  

The private, confidential survey is available here and will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

The authority was established by the Legislature to create a cohesive, coordinated effort to bring high-speed internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the Commonwealth, and to facilitate the distribution of federal infrastructure funds. More information about PBDA is available here.
New Online Resource for Service Members Leaving Active Duty

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) has launched “Welcome Home PA,” an online resource to help service members separating or retiring from active duty acclimate to a successful civilian life in Pennsylvania.

The Welcome Home PA site includes information about employment opportunities with the Commonwealth and in the private sector, furthering military careers with the Pennsylvania National Guard, guidance on how to use GI Bill benefits to attend post-secondary schooling or begin an apprenticeship, and more. DMVA also encourages returning service members to visit the PA Veterans Registry and PA VETConnect, which helps to connect veterans and their families with programs and services available to them after their service. Veterans can also access the PA Veterans Guide – an extensive resource offering information on veterans’ benefits, housing, information for veterans with disabilities and more.

To learn more about programs and services for veterans, visit www.dmva.pa.gov.