June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Pennsylvania
On Thursday, the House passed unanimously my resolution designating June 15, 2017, as Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Pennsylvania. Pictured with me is Chairman of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee Tim Hennessey.
Approximately 24,000 reports of elder abuse were made to the Department of Aging in the 2015-16 fiscal year. It is assumed the number is drastically underestimated, given the fact many cases of elder abuse go unreported in the Commonwealth.
As a member of the Luzerne County Elder Abuse Task Force, I understand the importance of working together with state and local law enforcement, the district attorney and the Area Agency on Aging to create a comprehensive team to combat elder abuse and protect these vulnerable citizens.
Elder abuse comes in many forms including physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, neglect of care, abandonment, and becoming more common, financial exploitation. We must protect the health, safety and well-being of seniors in Pennsylvania.
Satellite Hours Offered Next Week
A member of my staff will be at the Hunlock Township Building, located at 33 Village Drive, Hunlock Creek, on Tuesday, June 13, from 10 a.m. to noon to provide assistance with Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms, PennDOT paperwork, state-related issues and more.
Luis Ybarra, the VFW assistant department service officer, visits our Dallas district office on the third Tuesday of each month to assist area veterans. Please call 570-675-6000 for more information.
Bill to Base Budget Decisions on Performance Passes House
To help ensure tax dollars are used to their maximum benefit, the House passed legislation, which would require performance-based budgeting.
This type of budgeting uses performance matrices to determine whether each state department has met its goals and objectives, and bases future budget allocations on what was accomplished with the dollars given. Budget requests would include itemized expenditures for all activities required by state and federal statutes at minimum and current levels.
This is another effort by the House to stand up for taxpayers and reinvent the way state government operates.
House Bill 410 now goes to the Senate for review.
Improving a Health, Human Service Helpline
To help residents better access both private and public human services, House Bill 211 passed the House this week to improve Pennsylvania’s 2-1-1 system.
The 2-1-1 system is a free, confidential, 24-hour information and referral service provided by the United Way that connects Pennsylvanians in need with health and human service assistance available through government programs, along with private and nonprofit organizations in their communities.
The new public-private grant program established under House Bill 211 would help expand the service, develop mobile applications and ensure efficiency and quality standards across the state, all while reducing the taxpayer costs needed ensure its success.
House Bill 211 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Nonprofit Anti-Fraud and Theft Seminar
Are you affiliated with a nonprofit organization? Would you like to learn more about how to keep the organization’s funds safe and solvent? My office is gauging interest for a nonprofit anti-fraud and theft seminar to be held in July. For more information and to express interest, contact my Dallas district office at 570-675-6000.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program deadline for older adults and residents with disabilities to apply for rebates of rent and property taxes paid in 2016 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2017.
Each year the department evaluates the program as the statutory June 30 application deadline approaches to determine if funds are available to extend the deadline. To date, funding has been available to allow all who qualify to receive a rebate. The Department of Revenue will begin mailing checks after July 1 for those already approved for a rebate.
Applicants may obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information online at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190.
It costs nothing to apply for a rebate, and free application assistance is available in my district offices. Claimants who already applied for rebates can check the status of claims online at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES.
Tax Amnesty Ends June 19
Taxpayers who owe state taxes only have a few more days to take advantage of the latest tax amnesty period. The program, which offers incentives to Pennsylvanians to settle their delinquent tax accounts, is expected to generate as much as $150 million in revenue for the Commonwealth. The program does not “forgive” taxes owed but instead waives penalties, collection and lien fees, and half of the interest owed.
All taxes owed to the Commonwealth administered by the Department of Revenue are eligible for the program. The delinquent taxes must have been owed as of Dec. 31, 2015. Any unpaid taxes, penalties and interest resulting from periods after Dec. 31, 2015, are not eligible for the program.
The amnesty period runs until June 19, 2017. More information is available at www.revenue.pa.gov. For a video explaining the program, click here.
Sign Up to Receive Our Upcoming Sportsmen’s Newsletter!
In an effort to share information, legislative updates and useful material from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, I will be creating a sportsmen’s newsletter for outdoor and hunting/fishing enthusiasts in the 117th Legislative District. To sign up to receive this newsletter, please visit www.RepBoback.com or call my Tunkhannock office at 570- 836-4777.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Now Accepting Applications for 2017 Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania Grant Program
Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania is designed to provide community groups with paint and painting supplies enabling them to renew a community structure in need into something beautiful through the application of fresh paint and a lot of elbow grease. This event is held in partnership with BEHR paint and The Home Depot.
The Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania will take place in September. During this month-long period, eight grant awardees, along with their volunteers, will be eligible for up to 20 gallons of exterior paint and a gift card for painting supplies.
The Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania grant is available to any tax-exempt group within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Private property owners or individual applicants cannot apply. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will select the eight winning projects from among applications submitted.
Selected grantees must meet the following requirements to be considered – only one building per application, proof of liability insurance, signed permission to paint from the building owner and two before photos of the intended project. Selected grantees must also agree to provide a final report with during and after photos.
Applications must be received by July 17 and grants will be awarded mid-August. For more information or to download the application click here. Questions can be answered by Michelle Dunn, Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania Program Coordinator, at 877-772-3673 ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog…Now What?
Step 1: Call your local dog warden. They’ll help you with the rest.
Check the Wardens by county here.
This is the first in a four-part series on Pennsylvania’s Dog Law. Check back next week for the second installation of the series.