State Capitol Roundup
2/22/2013

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Applications Now Being Accepted 

Applications for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program are currently being accepted.  Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2012. The program benefits income-eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with permanent disabilities.  Renters may earn up to $15,000 annually and qualify for the program, while homeowners may earn up to $35,000.  Exclude 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits when calculating income.  Residents are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately.  Applications are due by June 30, with rebates being mailed after July 1.  Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms are available by contacting Rep. Kerry Benninghoff’s (R-Centre/Mifflin) office at 814-355-1300 or visiting KerryBenninghoff.com 

Trout Stocking Schedules Now Available 

Pennsylvania trout stocking schedules are now available online in preparation for opening day of trout season in April.  A total of 733 streams and 124 lakes will be stocked as a part of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s 2013 adult trout stocking program. Stocking occurs year-round, though most anglers typically view March as the official start of stocking season.  The PFBC will stock nearly 4 million adult trout in Pennsylvania rivers and streams that are open to the public for fishing.  More than 1 million additional trout will be stocked by private contractors across the Commonwealth.  Opening day for trout season is currently scheduled for Saturday, April 13.  There also will be a regional opening day at the end of March for many southeastern Pennsylvania counties.  Copies of the trout stocking schedules can be found online at KerryBenninghoff.com.  Hard copies of trout stocking schedules may also be obtained at Benninghoff’s office at 140 W. High St., in Bellefonte. 

House Passes Debt Reform Bill 

The House recently passed a measure to put new controls in place to curtail levels of public debt for projects funded by the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).  RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects with a focus on job creation.  Created in 1999 with an initial debt ceiling of $1.2 billion, the RACP debt ceiling has been raised six times since then, pushing it up to $4.05 billion.  House Bill 493 decreases the RACP debt ceiling from its current $4.05 billion to $3.45 billion, an immediate reduction of $600 million.  In addition, the bill puts in place important transparency measures.  Eligible projects must meet specific criteria, including generating substantial increases in or maintaining current levels of economic activity, having substantial regional economic impacts, including at least 50 percent of non-state funding participation and having a total project cost of at least $1 million.  The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
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