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Senator Pat Browne


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I hope you find this E-newsletter useful and informative. If you would like to be removed from this list, click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page. If you have suggestions for how to make this E-newsletter better or more informative, I welcome your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Senator Pat Browne
Appropriations Committee Chairman
16th Senatorial District


In this Edition of the E-News:

  • Effort to Override Governor’s Veto Falls Short
  • PA Heating Assistance Program is Open
  • Property Tax & Rent Rebate Applications Available
  • PennDOT’s 511 Information Website

Senate Republicans Push Budget Override Effort

10/28/15 - Budget Impasse

Click to watch my response

Responding to growing pleas from schools and community groups to release overdue state funding, Senate Republicans on October 28th led an effort to override Governor Wolf’s veto of an emergency budget passed last month by the General Assembly. 

Senate leaders emphasized that the override would have provided badly needed funding while negotiations continue on a final budget agreement.  The override required a two-thirds majority, or 33 votes.  While all 30 Republican Senators voted for the measure, the emergency funding veto override vote received no Democrat support. 

Hours before the vote, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told members of the Senate Democrat Policy Committee that the lack of state funding is having a devastating financial impact on schools throughout Pennsylvania.  School districts have already borrowed nearly a half-billion dollars – plus interest payments of $15 million – because of the budget impasse, and that number may double by Thanksgiving.

Today’s vote marks the fifth time since June 30th that the legislature has attempted to have a fiscally responsible budget enacted and keep money flowing to schools and organizations.

Click Here to read more on the effort to override the veto.


It was my pleasure to welcome Pastor Bob Stevens (center) as my guest on and to serve as Guest Chaplain of the Senate on October 26th. Pastor Stevens is from Zion’s “Liberty Bell” Church in downtown Allentown.

Zion’s is known as the Liberty Bell Church because in 1777, eleven bells were brought there from Philadelphia and hidden under the floor boards of the church for safe keeping during the Revolutionary War. One of those bells is now better known as the Liberty Bell.


Pennsylvania’s Heating Assistance Program is Now Open

Pennsylvania’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) grant program is now accepting applications. LIHEAP, which opened on November 2, 2015 and runs until April 1, 2016, provides grants of up to $1,000 to help low-income families pay heating bills during the winter months. LIHEAP also offers crisis grants of up to $500 for families who experience heating emergencies, such as a broken furnace, fuel shortage or utility termination.

As we head into the colder months of the year, it is vitally important that our residents who do not have the resources to pay for heat can get access to it. The LIHEAP program helps those low-income families receive that necessary heat and I urge everyone who qualifies for the program to apply.

The program is available to individuals and families earning less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $17,655 for a single individual or $36,375 for a family of four. Grant amounts are based on income, family size, type of heating fuel and the region where the person or family lives.

To apply for the program, a people will need the names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and proof of income for all members of the household seeking assistance, along with a recent heating bill.

Applications for LIHEAP grants are available online at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website, www.compass.state.pa.us. More information on the program is also available by calling the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095 or by visiting their local county assistance office. Lehigh County’s Assistance Office is located at 101 South 7th Street in Allentown and the phone number is 610-821-6509.

Individuals may also pick up an application – in English or Spanish – or get more information at my Main District Office at 702 Hamilton Street in Allentown or by calling any of my offices: Allentown Office (610-821-8468); Western Lehigh County Office (610-366-2327); or, North Whitehall Township Office (610-769-5566).


Property Tax and Rent Rebate Applications Still Available

The Property Tax and Rent Rebate program deadline has been extended to December 31, 2015 for homeowners and renters to file applications for property taxes and rent paid in 2014. The rebate program benefits Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters with only half of Social Security income counting towards income eligibility for the program.

Residents, who meet the program’s guidelines and who have not already filed a 2014 Property Tax and Rent Rebate Application, may qualify for a rebate of up to $650. Claimants are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information for their claims to be processed accurately and quickly.

Applications are available at any of my offices and also by visiting the Property Tax and Rent Rebate section of state Department of Revenue’s website at www.revenue.state.pa.us or by calling toll-free (888) 222-9190.


PA Travel Info to Go

Before you head out on the road, a minute reviewing the live traffic images, construction locations, current speed data and the maps on the 511 PA Travel Info to Go site may save you time and frustration. Pennsylvania’s 511PA traveler information system provides motorists with better access to traffic information through its website, www.511PA.com, as well as through phone and personal-alert systems. The website, which works on both computers and mobile devices, provides free, 24-hour travel information for thousands of miles of state roads including the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Incident and construction information is available for 40,000 miles of state roads, essentially the entire PENNDOT-maintained system, plus the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Information on current traffic conditions is available for 15,000 roadway miles. The site also offers access to 30 additional traffic cameras from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, in addition to the 650 already available across the state. Information is available statewide and, for your convenience, broken into twelve regions

Download the app for iPhone or Android to begin your hands-free travel alerts experience. 


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Contact Senator Browne:

On the Web:
www.senatorbrowne.com

Allentown
702 W. Hamilton Street
Suite 101
Allentown 18101
610-821-8468
Toll-Free: 1-800-280-7728
FAX: 610-821-6798
Monday-Friday
9 AM to 5 PM

Harrisburg
281 Main Capitol
Harrisburg 17120
717-787-1349
FAX: 717-772-3458
TTY: 800-364-1581
Monday-Friday
9 AM to 4:30 PM

Western Lehigh County
Upper Macungie Township Building
8330 Schantz Road
Breinigsville 18031
610-366-2327
FAX: 610-366-2329
By Appointment Only

Northern Lehigh County
North Whitehall Township Building
3256 Levans Road
Coplay, PA 18037
610-769-5566
FAX: 610-769-5568
By Appointment Only