Mar. 08, 2024

Capitol Report
The latest news from the State Capitol
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Budget Hearings Conclude – What’s Next?

The House Appropriations Committee concluded three weeks of budget hearings this week at the Capitol. As a Member of the Appropriations Committee, I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in these hearings and ask each agency head or cabinet secretary about the Governor’s proposed budget.

The state’s budget deadline is June 30, and I’m concerned that the testifiers had a lack of details to share with the committee. These hearings are intended to provide Members clarity on the Governor’s proposal, but I do not believe we have enough information at this point in the process.

I’m concerned about the overall record spending levels which harm our Commonwealth’s long-term financial stability.
I will continue to follow up with these officials and work with my colleagues throughout the budget process and hope to arrive at a more fiscally responsible budget.

You can follow along and watch my questions and updates at

Click here to view video.

State troopers play a vital role in our communities. During a budget hearing with our state police, I had the opportunity to ask about new cadet classes and increasing the compliment of our Commonwealth's police forces. 
Remember to Spring Forward

Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 10, at 2 a.m. Be sure to turn your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night before going to bed.

This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. It is also recommended the alarms be replaced every 10 years.
Bills Aim to Improve, Streamline Vital Property Tax, Rent Relief Program

A package of three bills designed to reform and streamline the state’s successful Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program will soon be introduced in the state House.

The proposals come on the heels of a law adopted last year that significantly expanded income eligibility limits and increased the maximum rebates to provide more help to senior citizens and people with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

The bills would streamline the application process by allowing people to simultaneously apply for the rebates when filing annual returns for the state Personal Income Tax; require the Department of Revenue to decide on a completed application within 10 days of receipt or it will be deemed approved; and remove confusion about the application deadline by permanently setting it for Dec. 31 each year.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible residents age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. Income eligibility limits stand at $45,000 for both homeowners and renters, with 50% of Social Security excluded when calculating income. The maximum rebate is $1,000.

For more information about the program, click here. If you think you may qualify and need assistance with filing the application, please contact my offices.
Saving for Disability-Related Expenses

The PA ABLE Savings Program, an initiative created to help people with disabilities and their families save for future expenses, continues to grow in the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Treasury, which oversees the program, recently announced it has surpassed $100 million in assets.

ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. It offers seven different tax-free savings and investment options, including a checking account. PA ABLE account owners can contribute up to $18,000 per year. Contributions can be deducted from PA state income taxes, and PA ABLE account owners pay no federal or state income tax on account growth when used for qualified withdrawals.

The money can be used for everything from groceries, rent, health care and transportation to longer-term expenses including education and assistive technology.

Learn more at