Legislators Push for Expansion of Successful Educational Tax Credit Programs
Legislators Push for Expansion of Successful Educational Tax Credit Programs

State Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) and I visited Pope John Paul II High School in Royersford this week, where we were joined by Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and highlighted the benefits enjoyed by students, parents, local businesses, and public and private schools that have used two popular education tax credit programs.

We highlighted the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program.

The EITC program provides businesses with tax credits in exchange for voluntary contributions to organizations that fund various education opportunities – including scholarships and innovative programming – in both public and private schools.

The OSTC program provides businesses with tax credits in exchange for their contributions to organizations that provide scholarships to students who live within the attendance boundary of a low-achieving public school. The scholarships enable students to attend a participating public or nonpublic school that better meets their needs.

We fought for and secured a $10 million increase in EITC allocations in the current state budget, increasing the amount of tax credits available through the program from $125 million to $135 million.

Up to $50 million in tax credits are available through the OSTC program.

The use of tax credits to provide students and parents with enhanced educational opportunities is truly innovative. The state uses traditional tax revenues to fund the traditional public school system, while these tax credit programs provide an incentive for local businesses to further invest in the education of their future workers. These tax credit programs are a way to get the business community directly involved in financing the educational opportunities of the workforce of tomorrow.

The state House in March approved legislation – House Bill 250 – introduced by Turzai that would increase the amount of combined credits available through the EITC and OSTC programs to $250 million. Under Turzai’s bill, $175 million in tax credits would be available through the EITC program and $75 million would be available through the OSTC program.

The bill was referred to and remains in the Senate Education Committee awaiting consideration.
Cutting Through the Red Tape

This week, state lawmakers and business leaders from across the Commonwealth announced a multi-bill package specifically designed to rein in state government overregulation.

The bills include giving the Legislature the ability to initiate the repeal of any state regulation in effect; establishing the Independent Office of the Repealer to undertake an ongoing review of existing regulations; requiring legislative approval of an economically significant regulation; making the permitting process more transparent; requiring each agency to better educate the regulated community regarding implementation of any new regulation and its requirements; and improving the regulatory culture so the application of existing laws is collaborative and not punitive.

Also announced was a Regulatory Overreach Report, which showed that Pennsylvania’s restrictive regulatory environment kills family-sustaining jobs, strangles opportunity and cripples economic growth.

Pennsylvania currently has more than 153,000 regulatory restrictions that stretch across every industry in the Commonwealth.
2017 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Forms to be Available Monday

Forms for the state’s 2017 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program will be available for download from the Department of Revenue’s website starting Monday, Jan. 22. Paper forms will be available in the coming weeks.

Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2017. 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. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

Residents do not need to pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are available at no cost at my district office(s); however, applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by June 30.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is one of many initiatives supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery, which dedicates its proceeds to support programs for older Pennsylvanians.

For more information, visit my website at RepCorr.com or click here.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, a good time to raise awareness of cervical cancer and learn more about Pennsylvania’s HealthyWoman Program, which is a free breast and cervical cancer early detection program for those who are not insured or whose insurance doesn’t cover the screenings.

Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is virtually always preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening.

Among the services offered are pelvic exams, Pap smears and follow-up diagnostic tests for an abnormal screening result. Cervical cancer screenings are recommended for women beginning at age 21.

For more information, call the HealthyWoman hotline at 1-800-215-7494 or click here.