Senator Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Media Outlets Confirm Shapiro’s Broken Promise to Save PA Children from Failing Schools
  • Cameron County Satellite Office Hours:  Get Your State and Federal Government Questions Answered on July 26
  • Applications Available for PennDOT Winter Maintenance Jobs
  • Expanding the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
  • Pennsylvania to Receive More Than $1 Billion to Close Digital Divide
  • Beware of Student Loan Scam Robocalls and Robotexts
  • Purple Star School Program Supports Military-Connected Children 

Media Outlets Confirm Shapiro’s Broken Promise to Save PA Children from Failing Schools

News outlets continue to point out Governor Josh Shapiro’s failure to stand up for Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) scholarships as a broken promise that will deny new learning opportunities for children who need them most.

Parents could use this “lifeline” funding for private school tuition, tutoring and other services. 

The truth is we had a state budget deal to help “God’s children” who are trapped in the bottom 15% of schools for test scores and academic performance.

Displaying a complete lack of integrity and caving once again to extreme teachers’ unions demands, the governor reneged on that deal.

It’s on the governor to fix and repair this; not those whose trust he violated.

Helping every child have access to greater educational opportunities is a promise that should never be broken, which is why the budget plan advanced by the Senate, on June 30, expanded educational programs and fully funded the governor’s requested amount for basic education at historic levels.

With no actual budget agreement in sight, the Senate will continue to await legislative action by the House of Representatives on the remaining budgetary components as we work to complete a responsible spending plan that respects taxpayers and fulfills the governor’s broken promise to save Pennsylvania children from failing schools.

Cameron County Satellite Office Hours:  Get Your State and Federal Government Questions Answered on July 26

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-15) and I are pleased to announce our upcoming Cameron County area satellite office hours.

On Wednesday, July 26, team members from both offices will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce, 34 East Fourth Street, Emporium, PA 15834.

My team will be available to assist with any state government-related issues and available legislative services.

These include helping Cameron County area residents deal with issues involving state laws, state government or state agencies; assisting residents with PennDOT paperwork, driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals; handicap placards and dead tags (plates); information and applications for senior citizen benefit programs, including Property Tax/Rent Rebate and PACE/PACENET prescription drug programs; state tax forms; and many others.

Congressman Thompson’s team will be available to help residents who need assistance from federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the IRS.

No appointments are necessary. For further information, contact my Smethport district office at (814)-734-2785.

Applications Available for PennDOT Winter Maintenance Jobs

Individuals seeking seasonal employment are encouraged to apply for a variety of winter maintenance positions now available through PennDOT.

Equipment operators, mechanics, semi-skilled laborers and more are needed.

Additional details about the positions, along with job applications, are available here.

Expanding the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

In an effort to provide more financial relief for low-income seniors, the Senate passed legislation to increase the income eligibility and amount of rebates for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. I’m very pleased this bipartisan bill will put money back in the pockets of those who need it most.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. House Bill 1100 will expand this program to help homeowners and renters with household income of up to $45,000. Previously, the income limit was $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

In addition, as part of the legislation, the household income limit is required to be adjusted each July equal to a percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), with any changes rounded to the nearest $10. If the CPI declines, the income limits will remain unchanged.

Pennsylvania to Receive More Than $1 Billion to Close Digital Divide

Pennsylvania is set to receive $1.16 billion in federal funding to increase access to high-speed internet connectivity for individuals, businesses, schools and hospitals.

Thanks to everyone who submitted information to challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s map that indicates areas with and without high-speed internet connectivity, Pennsylvania had the third highest number of successful challenges in the country.

While funding was predicated on the map released by the FCC, residents may still view and challenge the map should the information be incorrect. Residents can view the statewide broadband map and learn more about challenging any location in Pennsylvania here.

Beware of Student Loan Scam Robocalls and Robotexts

Following the Supreme Court decision regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s student loan forgiveness program, scammers are likely to attempt to use the program to make their misleading robocalls and robotexts seem more legitimate.

Common scams pretend to be from the “student loan forgiveness center” or from a state “forgiveness center.” Other messages reference a “settlement” with the U.S. Department of Education that entitles the recipient to “fully discharge” their student loan obligations. Incoming communications may also fraudulently reflect seemingly legitimate caller ID information to convince consumers to respond.

Learn more, including how to spot a scam and what to do if you are a target, here.

Purple Star School Program Supports Military-Connected Children 

Thanks to legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) launched the Purple Star School Program.

The program encourages schools to support the children of service members on active duty and in the National Guard and Reserves as they transition to a new school due to a parent’s change in duty station. Public and non-public schools can receive the Purple Star Award from PDE if they demonstrate their commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military.

Pennsylvania now joins 37 other states that offer this designation. Schools can learn more and apply for the Purple Star School designation here.


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