General Assembly Passes Tax Relief in Latest Budget

(HARRISBURG) – The Pennsylvania General Assembly has included two important tax relief provisions in its recently enacted Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27). 

One provision, permanently included in the tax code, is the creation of the Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Program.  This is modeled after the federal Child Tax Credit and would return up to 30% of childcare-related expenses claimed on the filers federal tax return. 

Eligible filers would be those people with one or more dependents that fall under certain income limits.  For those with one dependent, a maximum of $3,000 can be claimed.  That amount is doubled for those with two or more dependents.  The percentage of expenses that can be claimed will be based on income level.  The credit can be applied starting with state tax filings in 2023.

“This new childcare tax credit was an essential provision in our latest budget,” said Senator Gordner.  “I am pleased we were able to implement this program to lessen the burden on many taxpayers by giving them a tax credit for childcare expenses.”

The second provision in a one-year expansion of the Property Tax and Rent Rebate program.  Under the current program, renters and homeowners that meet the criteria are eligible for payments of $650 on the low end and up to $975.  This infusion of $140 million in federal stimulus money will allow those in the program to receive an additional 70% rebate for one year only.  If an individual received the full $975 from the program last year, they would receive an additional $682.50. 

Eligible individuals include those that are 65 years of age and older, widows and widowers aged 50 and older and those with a disability aged 18 and older.  Income requirements also apply.  Homeowners must make $35,000 or less and renters must make $15,000 or less to qualify for this program.

“The Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program has been successful in assisting our most vulnerable population by providing them with a rebate for certain property tax or home rental expenses,” added Senator Gordner.  “I am pleased that my colleagues and I were able to utilize federal funds to provide an additional level of relief for these individuals, especially in this time of steadily increasing living expenses.”

 

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov

Governor Makes Appointment to Fill Local MDJ Vacancy

(HARRISBURG) – Snyder County Chief Probation Officer Bo Trawitz has been nominated by Governor Tom Wolf to fill a vacant Magisterial District Judge (MDJ) position, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27). 

“I believe that Bo has the skills to be an excellent Magisterial District Judge and I was very supportive of his candidacy for this position,” said Senator Gordner.  “I am pleased that Governor Tom Wolf also recognized Bo’s excellent qualifications in nominating him to fill the vacancy.”

The vacancy in Magisterial District 17-3-04 occurred when former MDJ Lori Hackenberg was elected to the Court of Common Pleas for Snyder and Union Counties.

Bo Trawitz was a Probation Officer in Mifflin County from 2004 to 2013 and has been a Probation Officer in Snyder County since 2013.  In 2017, he became the Chief Probation Officer for Snyder County.

Bo is active in his community and has been a Past President and coach for the Snyder County Little League and a Vice President and Coach for the Midd-West Elementary Wrestling Association. 

Mr. Trawitz is currently enrolled in and attending a four-week certification course in Harrisburg.  The program is run by the Minor Judiciary Education Board.

The nomination now heads to the Pennsylvania Senate, which has a constitutional duty to advise and consent on the Governor’s nominations.

 

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov

Media Advisory: Columbia County Flood Monies

(HARRISBURG) –   There will be an announcement by Senator John R. Gordner regarding future flood projects in Columbia County at 2:00pm on Thursday, June 2, 2022.  The event will be held during the Columbia County Commissioners meeting at 702 Sawmill Road, Bloomsburg.

Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), Representative David R. Millard (R-109) and Columbia County Commissioners Chris Young, Rich Ridgway and Dave Kovach will be in attendance.

For media inquiries, please contact Mike Stephens at mstephens@pasen.gov.

Costly Bridge Tolling Plan Halted

HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania yesterday granted a preliminary injunction stopping Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to toll nine major bridges across the state until further court action occurs, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27). The tolling plan would include the Interstate 80 bridge over Nescopeck Creek in Luzerne County.

“I was very pleased to learn of the Court’s ruling in this case,” said Senator Gordner.  “The tolling of these bridges would have a significant impact on drivers all across the state.  Due to rising prices and inflation, this is not the time to make it more difficult and costly for Pennsylvanians to get to work and travel.”

The bridge tolling initiative would cost the average commuter an additional $1,000 per year and was moved through the process without legislative input nor approval. The Commonwealth Court sided with a county and several municipalities that challenged the bridge tolling plan as unconstitutional.

“I was also very pleased to testify last week at the public hearing in Nescopeck,” added Senator Gordner.  “The court ruling echoed the very concerns that I raised in my testimony.”

The Commonwealth Court agreed with the Plaintiffs that the Public Private Partnership Board did not identify the bridges to be tolled or consult with the affected parties prior to board approval of the plan.

This order halts PennDOT’s tolling of the following bridges:

 

CONTACT: Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov

Significant State Grant Awarded for Multigenerational Center in Selinsgrove

(HARRISBURG) – The Regional Engagement Center (REC) was awarded a $2,000,000 grant through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) to assist in the construction of an Intergenerational Community Life Center, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27). 

The funds will be used to help to acquire and renovate the Selinsgrove Inn and multiple surrounding properties.  The end result would be the Intergenerational Community Life Center, combining REC’s signature youth development programs, and activities for older adults and all ages in between.

“This is a great project that will be an asset to Selinsgrove area citizens of all ages,” said Senator Gordner.  “I want to congratulate REC for its excellent vision and a successful application.”

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs. 

 

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov

Significant State Grant Awarded to Coal Township Business

(HARRISBURG) – Parea Biosciences was awarded a $3,000,000 grant through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and Representative Kurt A. Masser (R-107). 

The funds will be used for the construction of two 2,500 sq.-ft. greenhouses to increase production of State Licensed Medical Marijuana at the facility.  The HVAC system will be overhauled to handle the increased growing area.  It is anticipated that an additional 12 jobs will be created by these improvements.

“I want to recognize Parea Biosciences for its hard work on this important project and for a successful application,” said Senator Gordner.  “Further, I am pleased that Governor Tom Wolf saw the merit in these actions and authorized the release of key RACP funds.”

“This is a great project that will result in more life-sustaining jobs coming to Coal Township,” added Representative Masser.  “Parea Biosciences is a true Pennsylvania start-up company and it is essential that they succeed against their larger nationally-based competitors.”

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs. 

 

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov

Significant State Grants Awarded for Two Sunbury Projects

(HARRISBURG) – Two Sunbury-area projects were awarded grants through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108). 

The first grant will be awarded to the City of Sunbury, which applied on behalf of Fresh Roasted Coffee (FRC), in the amount of $1,500,000.  The funds will be used to help purchase a new single-serve coffee pod production machine, which will increase production from 90 to 300 pods per minute.  This will lead to 20 new jobs created over the next 3 years and will allow FRC to produce either hard Keurig-type cups or new K-Cup compatible compostable cups.

“I want to congratulate both Fresh Roasted Coffee and Sivana Converting for their successful applications and fantastic projects,” said Senator Gordner.  “This type of cutting-edge partnership can change the landscape of local manufacturing.”

The second successful application was submitted by DRIVE, on behalf of Sivana Converting, in the amount of $800,000.  The funds will be used to renovate and upgrade the former Sunbury Textile Mill to create modern manufacturing space and offices.  Sivana is the first producer of hemp-based biodegradable plastic food containers.  When complete, the project is anticipated to create 75-103 new jobs.

“This is a great day for residents of the Sunbury area,” added Representative Culver.  “Life-sustaining jobs will be coming to support many local families.”

Both applicants will be sharing the facility.  Further, FRC will be utilizing some of Sivana’s hemp-based products to produce and market biodegradable single-serve coffee pods.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs. 

 

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov

Gordner Announces $500,000 Grant for Whispering Willows Park in Conyngham Borough

Harrisburg – Conyngham Borough received a $500,000 grant from the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) to improve parking and access conditions at Whispering Willows Park, Sen. John Gordner (R-27) announced today.

The grant will fund the first of a four-phase plan that includes creating a secondary access and emergency route to the park. A new parking area will also be constructed adjacent to the existing recreation facility.

“I am pleased that Governor Wolf and PennDOT have chosen to award this grant funding to Conyngham Borough”, said Senator Gordner.  “This project will provide safer and more adequate access for residents and visitors to enjoy Whispering Willows Park.”

The MTF offers funding to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as investments in ports, rail freight and aviation projects. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation selected 56 plans totaling $47.8 million during this latest application round.

 

CONTACT: Sean Moll, 717-787-8928