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Bill to Boost Property Tax, Rent Rebate Program Passes State House | WDIY Local News

State Rep. Steve Samuelson, D-135th speaks about the Property Tax/Rent Rebate P to the press during a 2022 visit to Bethlehem with former Gov. Tom Wolf to call for
Commonwealth Media Services
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State Rep. Steve Samuelson, D-135th speaks about the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program during a 2022 visit to Bethlehem with former Gov. Tom Wolf.

A bill which would expand Pennsylvania’s property tax and rent rebate limits has passed through the state House.

The legislation, called House Bill 1100, passed through the House of Representatives with overwhelming support on a 194-9 vote.

The bill would expand the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for the first time in over 16 years, according to State Rep. Steve Samuelson, D-Northampton.

Samuelson, chair of the House Finance Committee and the bill’s prime sponsor, said in a release that nearly 175,000 additional Pennsylvanians could be eligible under the expanded program.

If the bill is signed into law, the income limits for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program would increase to $45,000 for both homeowners and renters. Samuelson said the legislation would also provide recipients with larger rebates.

The new proposed maximum rebates are as follows:

IncomeCurrent Max. RebateProposed Max. Rebate
0 – $8,000$650$1,000
$8,001 –$15,000$500$770
$15,001 – $18,000$300$460
$18,001 – $35,000$250$380
$35,001 – $45,000N/A$380

The program was started in 1971 to benefit older adults and adults with disabilities and is supported by the Pennsylvania lottery. Applicants can exclude half of their Social Security income when determining eligibility.

The last time the limits were increased was in January 2007.

The release said without any subsequent increase in income eligibility, program recipients dropped from around 600,000 individuals to a projected 398,000 in the current year.

Samuelson also said the legislation would include an annual cost-of-living adjustment so the program would keep pace with inflation, “so that recipients won’t lose their rebate in the future when they get modest increases in their Social Security or pension.”

The bill’s other primary co-sponsors are State Reps. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin/Cumberland, Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, and Maureen Madden, D-Monroe.

Madden, chair of the Northeast Delegation, called the existing funding formula “outdated” and said it was time to adjust eligibility requirements, while Kim, who chairs the House Aging & Older Adult Services Committee, said in a statement that it was “frustrating” to see increasing numbers of older Pennsylvanians to lose program eligibility.

She said passing the bill, “means we’re moving toward taking healthy gaming revenue and making the needed changes so this program can do what it was always intended to do, which is help keep families in their homes.”

HB 1100 gained 92 bipartisan cosponsors and was unanimously passed through the House Finance Committee last month. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Samuelson said the bill matches a proposal put forward by Gov. Josh Shapiro to expand the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program, which included raising the maximum rebate, increasing the income cap, tying the cap to increases in the cost of living, and expanding eligibility.

In 2022, Samuelson introduced legislation to boost existing property tax and rent rebates using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to provide one-time bonus rebates.

Later that year former Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 54 of 2022, which authorized one-time bonus rebates equal to 70% of each eligible claimant's original rebate amount.

The new rebates were paid for using around $140 million in ARPA funding.

(Original air-date: 6/6/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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