In this Edition:
Tuesday is Election Day
Don’t forget to vote this Tuesday. Local elections and the statewide judicial races are important. And you can help decide an important ballot question. (See below.)
Pennsylvanians to Vote on School Property Tax Exemption on Tuesday
On Tuesday, Pennsylvanians will have the opportunity to vote on a ballot question to eliminate residential school property taxes through the state’s existing homestead exclusion program.
The proposed constitutional amendment would allow local taxing bodies to exclude from taxation up to 100% of the assessed value of owner-occupied homes.
The exact language of the ballot question requires a “yes” or “no” response and will read as follows:
Passage of the referendum is step one. If the ballot question is passed, the Legislature will have to pass a bill expanding the homestead exclusion program and providing the revenue necessary to eliminate school property taxes on primary homes. As a constitutional amendment, this voter referendum was approved unanimously by the Legislature in two consecutive sessions and now requires voter approval.
Around the 40th District
This past weekend, residents of the Slate Belt and area elected officials gathered to celebrate the opening of the Messinger Street Bridge in Bangor Borough. PennDOT recently completed replacement of this historic 95 year old bridge, which was one of the worst in the Commonwealth. It was refreshing to see residents come together along with the veterans and Boy Scouts to recognize the history of this bridge and celebrate its rebirth.
Congratulations to Ollie’s Bargain Warehouse as they celebrate their grand opening on 940 in Mount Pocono at the location of the old Kmart!
Scavello Provision to Boost Solar Energy in Pennsylvania Becomes Law
Legislation I drafted to boost the use of solar energy credits in Pennsylvania is now law.
Provisions from my Clean Energy Jobs Act, Senate Bill 404, were amended into House Bill 118, the 2017-18 Administrative Code signed into law Monday. This bill protects Pennsylvania-based jobs and provides solar renewable energy credits (SRECS) for homeowners and businesses with solar panels.
The 2004 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards requires that increasing percentages of electricity sold in Pennsylvania be generated through alternative energy sources like solar energy. Solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) are used to demonstrate compliance with the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act through the purchase of these credits from homeowners and businesses using solar.
However, Pennsylvania remains at a competitive disadvantage when compared to our neighboring states. Pennsylvania currently allows out-of-state systems to purchase SRECs in the Commonwealth.
Act 40 of 2017 essentially “closes the borders” of the Commonwealth on SREC purchases, similar to many neighboring states. Electric distributors will now have to purchase their credits from within the Commonwealth, protecting Pennsylvania-based solar credits and putting us in line with many of our neighboring states. In addition, closing the borders ensures that PA rate-payers are supporting jobs, investment and tax revenue here in Pennsylvania.
Solar energy is not a niche industry anymore, it is a viable addition to the Commonwealth’s diverse energy portfolio. We have the best fabrication, engineering, manufacturing and distribution networks in the country. The solar energy industry and the clean energy sector in general, offers communities – both rural and urban – the opportunity to retool, reposition and modernize our economy to attract additional 21st century jobs.
Northampton Community College to Offer GED and ESL Classes
Northampton Community College is offering opportunities at both their Bethlehem and Monroe campuses for area residents to earn their GED diploma, learn English as a Second Language (ESL) and develop other workplace skills.
Registration for the programs begin in January for classes offered in January, March and May.
Please call NCC’s Center for College & Career Readiness at 570-369-1883 for more information.
Home Heating Assistance Now Available
Residents in need of home heating assistance can apply now for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The federally funded LIHEAP offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company. Crisis grants may be available if individuals have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing their heat. Grants are based on household income -- $18,090 for an individual homeowner or renter, or $36,900 for a family of four.
You can find more information and applications online, or call 1-866-857-7095.
Time to Turn Clocks Back on Saturday Night
Don’t forget: Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday at 2 a.m., which means it’s time to “fall back.” Set clocks back one hour on Saturday night, and enjoy the extra hour of sleep.
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If you have a public event benefiting our community in Monroe or Northampton Counties, please feel free to contact my office at (570) 620-4326 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org to include the event in my E-Newsletter at no charge. Requests should include details about the community event such as the time, location and the public purpose.
Senate Box 203040
2989 Route 611, Suite 103
Tannersville, PA 18372
Phone (570) 620-4326
FAX (570) 620-4379
8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Northampton County Office