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Friday, February 10, 2017

Capitol Update By Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, February 10, 2017 The latest news from the State Capitol
Thank you to Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover for taking the time to meet this week and discuss a variety of issues, including the state budget, support for emergency services and more. I’ve met with all three boards of commissioners in the 67th District over the last couple weeks and always appreciate the opportunity to provide an update from Harrisburg and discuss issues of local concern so we can work together for the benefit of our region.
State Budget Process Underway
The annual state budget process got underway this week when Gov. Tom Wolf outlined a $32.3 billion spending proposal before a joint session of the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Unlike his first two budget proposals, the governor outlined a plan that actually included some cost-saving efforts and, for the first time in his tenure, he is not seeking broad-based increases in income or sales taxes. That is a step in the right direction as we head into the budget negotiation process.

But, as is the case with any legislation, the devil is in the details. We in the General Assembly will be reviewing those details in depth over the next few weeks, and my priority will be to ensure the final budget is not only fiscally responsible but also fair to the people of rural Pennsylvania.

To read my full statement about the budget, click here.
Area Fire, Ambulance Companies Awarded Grants
Fire and emergency response organizations in Cameron, McKean and Potter counties have been awarded nearly $410,000 in grants from the state. The grants, which are administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Office of the State Fire Commissioner, may be used for construction or renovation of a fire or ambulance company facility, purchase or repair of equipment, training, or reduction of existing debt. All funding comes from proceeds from slot machine gaming, and not general fund tax revenue.

As our emergency response organizations continue to struggle financially, these grants are sure to be put to good use. I am so grateful to the men and women who work so hard to protect our communities and am pleased we can continue to support them with this valuable grant funding.

View the full list of grant recipients here.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Clinics Begin Feb. 22
Need help with your Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications? My office is holding several clinics to provide assistance -- at no charge -- to anyone eligible for the program.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with permanent disabilities who meet certain income guidelines. 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.
The schedule is as follows:
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 9:30-11 a.m. – Eldred Senior Center, 169 Main St., Eldred.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 9:30-10:30 a.m. – Harrison Valley Community Building, 205 E. Main St., Harrison Valley.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 1-2:30 p.m. – Smethport Senior Center, 119 W. Main St., Smethport.
  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 9:30-11:30 a.m. – Emporium Senior Center, 213½ S. Maple St., Emporium. (Appointments preferred. Call 814-486-3707.)
  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 1-2:30 p.m. – Port Allegany Senior Center, 216 N. Main St., Port Allegany.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28, 9:30-11:30 a.m. – Mount Jewett Senior Center, 8 E. Main St., Mount Jewett.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1-3 p.m. – Kane Senior Center, 100 S. Fraley St., Kane.
  • Wednesday, March 1, 9:30-11 a.m. – Oswayo Valley Senior Center, 106 S. Oswayo St., Shinglehouse.
  • Wednesday, March 1, 1-2:30 p.m. – Coudersport Senior Center, 165 Route 6 West, Coudersport.
  • Tuesday, March 21, 9:30-11:30 a.m. – Bradford Senior Center, 60 Campus Dr., Bradford.
Unless otherwise noted, no appointments are needed. However, residents are reminded to bring all necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately.
If you have questions, or you need assistance and are unable to attend one of the clinics, contact any of the offices listed below and we will be happy to help! More information and claim forms are available at
  • Bradford: 78 Main St., First Floor – 814-362-4400.
  • Coudersport: 107 S. Main St., Room 1 – 814-274-9769.
  • Kane: 55 Fraley St. – 814-837-0880.
Update on Bill to Expand Reduced-Fee Vehicle Registration for Retirees
The House Transportation Committee has approved my legislation to expand the state’s reduced-fee vehicle registration program.

The program currently offers a discounted vehicle registration for just $10 to any person who is retired and receiving Social Security or other pension income that does not exceed $19,200 annually. My House Bill 188 would increase the income eligibility limit to $23,500, the same limit set for the state’s PACENET prescription drug assistance program.

The bill will now go to the full House for consideration. For more information about the existing reduced-fee vehicle registration program, visit
Reminder: Veterans Assistance Available
Melissa Davis of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will be available in my Kane office this Monday, Feb. 13, to assist veterans and their family members with issues such as compensation, education, pension, health care and death benefits. No appointments are necessary – just stop by the Kane office, 55 Fraley St., from 1-3 p.m.

For information about future veterans outreach dates and locations, click here.  

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