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Friday, February 8, 2019

Capitol Update by Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, February 8, 2019 The latest news from the State Capitol

2019-20 State Budget Work Begins

Earlier this week, Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his 2019-20 state budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly. It is the first step in a month’s long process toward developing our annual state spending plan.

While I was pleased to see the governor come forth with a proposal that does not increase sales or income taxes on our hard-working citizens, I am concerned he is proposing to increase spending by nearly $1 billion to more than $34.1 billion. We are still looking at the details of his proposal, but the bottom line is bigger government and higher spending are not good for our taxpayers or the economy.

The governor’s proposal includes additional investments in education, including career and technical training to prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, as well as new initiatives to support the agriculture industry. I am interested in learning more about these concepts as we work to ensure our spending remains focused on the core functions of government and doesn’t further burden our taxpayers or employers.

As is the case with every state budget, my priority is to ensure a fiscally responsible plan that supports the needs of rural Pennsylvania.

Starting next week, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a series of hearings to delve into the details of the governor’s plan. For a schedule and live streaming of the hearings, visit

Need Help with Your Property Tax/Rent Rebate Forms?

The first in a series of Property Tax/Rent Rebate clinics hosted by my office at area senior centers will be held this Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Kane Senior Center.

Income eligible senior citizens are invited to stop by the center, located at 100 S. Fraley St., from 1-3 p.m. for free assistance in filing for a rebate of up to $650 on rent or property taxes paid in 2018. Be sure to bring all necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately.

The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities. Eligibility income limits are set at $15,000 for renters and $35,000 for homeowners, excluding 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits. Also, applicants with veterans disability benefits and/or pensions do not need to declare that income.

Click here for additional information, including a schedule of other upcoming clinics.

Click here to download forms directly

Assistance is also available at any of my local offices in Bradford (78 Main St., first floor, phone 814-362-4400); Coudersport (107 S. Main St., Room 1, phone 814-274-9769); or Kane (55 Fraley St., phone 814-837-0880).

Save for Your Child’s Higher Education

More and more Pennsylvania families looking to plan for their child’s future education are turning to the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program. In fact, in 2018 Pennsylvania families set a record by saving over $585 million through the program.

There are two ways to save: the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) allows families to save for post-secondary education at today’s rate, and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP) allows families to choose how their contributions are invested from a list of 16 options.

You can use a 529 plan to pay for qualified higher education expenses at most colleges and universities, and many technical and career schools. You may also use the money to pay for tuition expenses up to $10,000 at elementary or secondary public, private, or religious schools. There are no income limits, and anyone can contribute. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends can all help your student pay for education.

Learn more at

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