Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more
PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Bryan Barbin says it's time for lawmakers to put people before politics and take Pennsylvania down a path where schools are funded, those in need get help and our homeowners don't face higher property taxes every year. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, announced today the award of $28.5 million in Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority funds for two area stormwater and sewer projects.
Pennvest approved a 1-percent $18.5 million loan to replace 6,900 feet of sewer interceptors in the Hornerstown area of Johnstown. The work is necessary to prevent sewage from running into Stony Creek.
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) approved $3.4 million in grant funding from the Endowment Act Fund, which will be awarded to 44 entities throughout the Commonwealth that assist victims of child sexual abuse. Pa. state Rep. Bryan Barbin says these funds will help Victim Services Inc. in Johnstown train 10 therapists to help area child sex-abuse victims. Read more
HARRISBURG - June 16, 2015 - The state Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee approved a Sen. John Wozniak (D-Cambria) resolution today calling on Congress to prohibit the transfer of Apache helicopters from Johnstown into active duty Army until a force structure analysis is completed. "The Army would do well to examine the efficacy of moving the Apache helicopters from Johnstown until further study is done," Wozniak said. "The unit is well established at the airport, has a large economic footprint and is essential to our security." Wozniak has joined with state Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria) and Rep. Frank Burns (D-Cambria) in seeking to stop the transfer of the 1-104 th Attack Battalion and the repositioning of Pennsylvania Army National Guard units. Barbin is a member of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. The National Commission on the Future of the Army is now studying active duty and National Guard force structuring alternatives. The report is due in February 2016. Wozniak said that it was important for the state legislature to make its sentiments clear about the restructuring of the National Guard components in the state because the National Defense Authorization Act is before the U.S. Senate and will be subject to a House-Senate conference in the near future. "There is so much uncertainty both in regard to the report on the structure of the Army and with the composition and Read more
HARRISBURG, June 16 – The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee today approved state Rep. Bryan Barbin’s legislation that would allow victim restitution to be intercepted from a debtor’s state tax refund. House Bill 1167 was introduced as a part of a package of bills recommended by the Office of Victim Advocate’s 2011 Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force. “Recompense is a core component of an excellent justice system, and it’s one of the most important things we lawmakers work to guarantee,” said Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset. “While it can be difficult to ensure that perpetrators fulfill their legal obligation to victims, tax-refund interception is a commonsense way for the state to make sure that some payment is happening regularly and expeditiously.” The legislation awaits a full vote in the House. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Bryan Barbin participated in Bike to Work Week in Harrisburg. Barbin supports bicycle commuting and the health benefits that come with it. He also would like to see Pennsylvania towns connected to the states bicycle trails in places like Somerset and Cambria County so the economic benefits can continue to grow. Read more
JOHNSTOWN, April 28 – The state’s next budget must return Pennsylvania’s focus to real classroom learning along with the fair and robust funding to provide it, said state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, during a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on education funding and property tax reduction Tuesday. The hearing examined Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget, which includes increased education funding and a plan to reduce property taxes. Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, co-chaired the hearing, and local- and state-level education experts provided insight. “Schools across Pennsylvania, particularly in Johnstown, have suffered devastating cuts for far too long,” Barbin said. “I’m excited to discuss a new opportunity, with a new governor and new plan, to reverse that course while offering property owners tax relief. The Education Reinvestment Act would increase the state’s share of school funding by 50 percent and cut property taxes by over $10 million in the Greater Johnstown and Westmont Hilltop school districts. It also seeks to increase funding for the districts by nearly $1.5 million.” Barbin added that the districts would save nearly $400,000 in cyber/charter school reform, a plan he calls a good start. Sturla said, “Homeowners and students across the commonwealth need our help. I commend Representative Barbin for taking the time to hear from Read more
JOHNSTOWN, April 22 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on education funding and property tax reduction at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 in the Greater Johnstown High School Auditorium, 222 Central Ave. , Johnstown. The hearing will examine Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget that includes increased education funding and a plan to reduce property taxes. Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will co-chair the hearing, which will feature testimony by local school districts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The current hearing agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. Beth Olanoff , director of policy, Pennsylvania Department of Education 2:40 p.m. Panel from local school districts: Amy Arcurio , Freshman Academy principal, Greater Johnstown School District Donald Irwin, Jr. , superintendent/business manager, Westmont Hilltop School District 3:30 p.m. Closing remarks The hearing is open to the public, and media is encouraged to attend. Read more
JOHNSTOWN, April 22 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, announced today the award of nearly $15 million in low-interest state infrastructure investment loans for ongoing sewer improvements in the Johnstown region. The PennVest loans, which are issued at 1 percent interest, will fund improvements in Woodvale, Oakdale and Westmont Borough. Ongoing construction projects in Woodvale and Oakdale will receive loans of $6.7 million and $1.86 million. Ongoing construction projects in Westmont Borough will receive $6.38 million. Read more
As part of the update to the commonwealth's 12-Year Transportation Program , PennDOT is encouraging the public to visit www.Talkpatransportation.com to provide input on what transportation priorities are important to them and to register for an interactive online public meeting scheduled for April 16. The 12-Year Transportation Program is updated every two years and serves as a blueprint of the state's prioritized transportation projects. The online public meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16. During the meeting, PennDOT Acting Secretary Leslie Richards will provide an update on the state's recently released transportation performance report and the public comment period. The public is encouraged to register for the meeting at www.talkpatransportation.com and questions may be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org . Through May 29, the public can also submit feedback at their convenience by emailing email@example.com or calling 717-787-2913 to request a printed survey copy or by taking the public survey once it's posted on the website on April 16. Read more
I am pleased to announce the deadline for P ennsylvania's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP , has been extended to May 1. This year's previous deadline was April 3. The federally funded program helps income-eligible households pay for heat during winter months and is administered by the state Department of Human Services. A family of four with an annual income of up to $35,775 can qualify for this assistance. Expansion of this program will allow us to ensure that Pennsylvania families can more easily heat their homes in winter, bringing much relief to the many families who continue to struggle to make ends meet. Please contact my office if you'd like to learn more about the program. You may also apply at your county assistance office or online . Read more
HARRISBURG, March 26 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin testified before the House Appropriations Committee today, calling for better oversight of cyber and charter schools operating in Pennsylvania. He said that the costs associated with a system of more than 170 special-interest schools across the state need to be reined in, as the cost to taxpayers has soared to over $1 billion since the late 1990s. "Only 25 percent of charter students and 10 percent of cyber students are meeting public school standards," said Barbin, D-Cambria. "Instead of pouring more money into charter schools managed by for-profit companies, we need to recognize that charters are failing our students. "A large part of the problem is that the public money being channeled into these programs isn’t expressed as a true line item in the budget. I propose that we break these appropriations out and allow the public to see how our tax dollars are spent on public, cyber and charter schools. "We can save more money by requiring cybers to operate on public school property. We can also use our colleges and universities to save on curriculum costs. There needs to be accountability on everything. "The governor’s budget proposes a cap on cyber spending of $5,900 per student, resulting in an annual savings of $160 million. I think that’s a good start, but we can go further to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed." Read more
JOHNSTOWN, March 10 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, will host an open house at his new constituent service office in Sidman from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. No RSVP is needed, and light refreshments will be served. "I invite my constituents to meet me and my staff at my new office in Sidman," Barbin said. "After the reapportionment process, I opened the office to better serve the constituents of the eastern part of the 71st Legislative District, including Adams and Richland townships, as well as Summerhill, South Fork, Ehrenfeld, Scalp Level and Paint boroughs.” The new office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Services available at the office include help with PennDOT forms, birth and death certificates, voter registration and absentee ballot applications, Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications and any state-related service. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Bryan Barbin speaks on the House floor commemorating February 19, 2015, as "The Battle of Iwo Jima Remembrance Day" in Pennsylvania, encouraging citizens to honor the memory of those who sacrificed so much. Read more
As we enter the height of tax season, please remain vigilant as the opportunities to fall victim to identity theft and related crimes increase this time of year. The Pa. Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers who used Internet-based tax filing programs last year to access their online accounts and determine whether returns they did not file are shown as filed under their Social Security numbers. If a taxpayer discovers he or she is a victim of identity theft impacting a Pennsylvania tax return, he or she should take all of the following steps: Report the incident to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 717-787-8201. Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or by calling 1-877-438-4338. File a report with the local police. Report the incident to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling 1-800-441-2555. File an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) with the Internal Revenue Service. Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax : www.equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285 Experian : www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742 TransUnion : www.transunion.com, 1-800-680-7289 Close any accounts that have been affected. If a taxpayer suspects a notice or call concerning tax records is a scam, he or she may call the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (717-787-8201) or IRS (1-800-829-1040) to validate the contact. Read more
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