Pennsylvania governor calls for property tax relief package
Governor Wolf asks the General Assembly to invest in older Pennsylvanians and people with disabilities through a property tax relief program
HarrisburgPA (STL.News) Governor Tom Wolf was joined by Rep. Steve Malagari, Senator Maria Collett and community leaders today to discuss Governor Wolf’s call to the Pennsylvania General Assembly to immediately use a portion of the $1.7 billion not spent from the American Rescue Plan Act to help seniors and people with disabilities through property taxes and rent reimbursements to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our Commonwealth is sitting on billions of dollars of federal COVID-19 relief money that is meant to help our citizens and it’s past time to use that money for its intended purpose – to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians,” said said Governor Wolf. “For Pennsylvanians on a budget or a fixed income, inflation driving up costs on everything, can lead to painful decisions. That’s why I want to use a portion of Pennsylvania’s federal COVID-19 relief funding to give a boost to this agenda and legislation has been introduced in support of my plan.Now I call on Republican leaders in the General Assembly to take action to send these bills to my office.
In February, Governor Wolf proposed its $1.7 billion action plan, which includes a proposal to allocate $204 million to provide property tax relief to Pennsylvanians by investing in the existing property tax rebate program for rents. This investment would be a one-time premium rebate for current users of the program, doubling existing rebates with approximately 466,000 Pennsylvanians receiving an additional average rebate of $475. Since its creation in 1971, the Property/Rent Tax Rebate Program provided more than $7.1 billion to seniors and people with disabilities.
In Montgomery County, the property tax/rent rebate program benefited 13,442 Pennsylvanians who received a total of $6.4 million. Nearly 75% of these beneficiaries were aged 65 and over.
“For seniors and many others across the state, they have been impacted by rising health care and prescription drug costs, as well as the rising cost of food, utilities and other necessities of life,” said Representative Malagari. “The proposal to use these funds to mitigate the damage inflicted by the pandemic on financially vulnerable residents is exactly what federal funds are meant to do.”
Senator Collett SB 1187 recently introduced, which supports Governor Wolf’s proposal to provide the single premium discount, which was referred to the committee in early April. The bill has stagnated since.
“As Democratic Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging and Youth, I am thrilled to see Governor Wolf support initiatives like this to help elderly and disabled Pennsylvanians,” said Senator Collett. “My legislation (SB 1187) would double this year’s payments under the property tax/rent rebate program, ensuring our most vulnerable neighbors are able to keep roofs over their heads. With billions of Federal ARPA dollars to spend, there is no excuse not to make this investment.
In addition to members of the General Assembly, Governor Wolf was joined by Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Dr. Valerie Arkoosh in supporting the proposal and the proposed legislation at today’s event. today. AARP also praised the proposal.
“Everyone is paying more for almost everything today – from prescription drugs to gas to housing, but the inflation problem is harder for people on fixed incomes,” said Bill Johnston- Walsh, Pennsylvania State Director of AARP. “The very purpose of the American Rescue Plan Act is to provide flexible emergency funding to state and local governments to effectively respond to the negative economic impacts created by the pandemic. AARP Pennsylvania is pleased to support this critical investment of American Rescue Plan Act dollars to support beneficiaries of the Property Rent Tax Rebate Program.