Ciresi, Haddock introduce legislation to expand property tax, rent relief

HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Reps. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, and Jim Haddock, D-Lackawanna/Luzerne, introduced this week H.B. 113, to expand the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvanians are struggling under high inflation to pay for basic necessities, especially housing,” Ciresi said. “I firmly believe that we must help our seniors and people with disabilities stay in the homes they’ve lived in for years for their own health and for community stability. Unfortunately, while inflation and cost of living has risen, PTRR’s income limits, rebate amounts and other provisions have not been updated to correspond with economic changes, so fewer people qualify for the program, and the rebates don’t provide the needed financial assistance.”

“We must act now to expand PTRR as next year, thousands of seniors will lose eligibility because their Social Security cost-of-living adjustments will push them above the eligibility threshold,” Ciresi said. “It is time to make sure that our seniors can remain eligible, and that more individuals can seek assistance from this vital program.”

The legislation would increase income limits for homeowners and renters to $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, recognizing the impact inflation has had since the last increase in 2006. In addition, the legislation would permanently reinstate a provision that would ensure individuals are not deemed ineligible for PTRR solely due to cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security. Moreover, the legislation would allow individuals to deduct the face amount of property taxes paid when determining income for PTRR. Finally, the legislation would also increase rebate amounts up to a new maximum of $800 and allow more homeowners to qualify for supplemental rebates by eliminating the $30,000 income cap.
“Vulnerable Pennsylvanians urgently need our help, and it is time we deliver,” Ciresi said.  “PTRR is a great resource, but it needs a major update to fit these challenging times to make sure no one falls through the cracks.”

“My staff and I have been helping seniors throughout the district learn about and enroll in the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, and the biggest hurdle preventing some of these wonderful people who need and would otherwise qualify for the program is the income threshold is not high enough for them,” Haddock said. “We need to expand the program so more seniors can access it and receive the financial relief they desperately need.”

In his budget address, Gov. Josh Shapiro also proposed expanding the PTRR Program by raising income eligibility caps to $45,000 for both homeowners and renters, indexing eligibility caps to inflation, and increasing maximum rebates to $1,000. These changes, the first major update since 2006, would expand program eligibility to 173,000 individuals, and increase assistance to an additional 398,000 people.

“We are glad that the governor shares our sense of urgency that PTRR must be expanded to ensure vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities in Pennsylvania can stay in their homes,” said Ciresi and Haddock.