Ciresi announces bill to freeze property taxes for seniors

(Jul 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 25 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced the introduction of legislation he is co-sponsoring that would implement a freeze for school district property taxes owed by older Pennsylvanians. “For years, I have talked with senior citizens who are struggling to stay in their homes due to steadily rising property taxes,” Ciresi said. “As property taxes increase, seniors’ bills get harder and harder to pay, straining their limited finances. I am happy to work on helping our older population by working towards solutions that benefit our seniors and ensure that they are not taxed out of their homes.” House Bill 1675 would implement a freeze on property taxes owed by Pennsylvanians 65 or older if they also have qualified for a homestead property tax exemption at their current residence for at least five years. Ciresi said school districts would not have to struggle with a loss of funding, as the state would reimburse school districts from the Property Tax Relief Fund. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, across Pennsylvania, there are 409,000 seniors with annual incomes of less than $20,000 that could benefit from this legislation. For more information, call Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265. ### Read more

 

Traffic Updates: U.S. 422 nighttime closures and more

(Jul 19, 2019)

I received the following information from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. I hope you find it useful. Read more

 

Substance abuse prevention mini-grants awarded

(Jul 18, 2019)

Congratulations to the recipients of mini-grants through the 2018-19 Montgomery County Drug and Alcohol Prevention Project! A total of $82,000 was awarded throughout Montgomery County through the project, which is a joint effort of the Montgomery County Office of Drug and Alcohol and Family Services of Montgomery County. These mini-grants are awarded to schools, nonprofits, police departments, and community groups to implement activities to increase awareness of and prevent youth substance abuse. Recipients in our area were: Pottstown School District: $5,000, Unfinished Athletics and Samana Holistic Yoga Activities, emphasizing making good choices for middle school students. Perkiomen Valley School District: $5,000, Support for Perkiomen Valley High School’s post-prom event. Greater Pottstown Tennis & Learning: $5,000, Serve and Connect tennis instruction for students in kindergarten through sixth grade; safe spaces for physical activity; improved relations with police; life skills evidence-based program. Tri-County YMCA: $4,998, Healthy Pathways Project training in yoga and mindfulness for teens and tweens; young athletes and advanced teacher concepts; mock teen bedroom event. Tri-County YMCA: $1,552, Representation at Covington Curriculum Conference and purchase of Voices curriculum for adolescent girls and young women. Click here for more information on this program. Read more

 

Miss my Telephone Town Hall? Click to listen to the discussion

(Jul 18, 2019)

Check out what your friends and neighbors had to say about the issues that matter Read more

 

Ciresi introduces bill to help heirs access unclaimed property

(Jul 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 17 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi has introduced legislation that would make it easier for a deceased person’s relatives to claim the deceased's property the state is holding. The Pennsylvania treasury holds more than $3 billion in unclaimed property, such as uncashed checks, lost stocks or bonds, or closed bank accounts. But because of an inconsistency in law, some categories of relatives have a harder time legitimately claiming that property on behalf of their deceased relatives. “As constituents visit my office for help with unclaimed property searches, we’ve seen this problem arise, so we worked with the state Treasurer's Office to find a solution,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. Certain close relatives of a deceased person – surviving spouse, child, parent, sibling – can file for unclaimed property using a notarized sworn relationship affidavit, which saves them the effort and expense of having to open or re-open the deceased’s estate. But other relatives – grandchildren, nephews, nieces and others – are not included in that section of law and cannot claim by affidavit even if they are the closest surviving relative. “The dollar value of the unclaimed property might not make it worthwhile for a relative to open or re-open their relative’s estate. So that money will remain with the state treasury, unclaimed, and the problem will just get worse with time,” Ciresi said. Read more

 

Ciresi to host telephone town hall meeting July 17

(Jul 15, 2019)

ROYERSFORD, July 15 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi invites residents of the 146 th Legislative District to participate in a telephone town hall meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17. Residents of the district will receive a call to their home phones at 7 p.m. To “attend” the meeting, they will be asked to simply remain on the line. Anyone wishing to make sure they receive the phone call or to register a cell phone, can do so at this link , or call Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265. “I look forward to discussing the important issues impacting our community, such as transportation and education,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “This meeting format makes it easy and convenient for residents to participate and share their thoughts with me without even leaving their homes.” People can listen in and ask questions or leave feedback when the meeting has ended. Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing townhall@pahouse.net . Anyone with questions should call Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265. Read more

 

Ciresi tours arch system to highlight critical infrastructure needs

(Jul 10, 2019)

POTTSTOWN, July 10 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi joined Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Regional Director Pat Patterson and local and state officials today to tour Pottstown’s underground storm sewer arch system and discuss how Restore Pennsylvania would help address infrastructure needs in the state. “The maintenance and emergency repair needs of the Pottstown arch system present a problem far beyond the financial means of private homeowners or Pottstown Borough to deal with,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “The collapses that we’ve already seen demonstrate the urgent need for the state to take action to examine the state of the arch system, fix the portions that have collapsed, and perform maintenance to prevent more collapses in the future. Restore PA would provide critical funding to address this major problem and prevent a serious risk to property and safety.” Ciresi has co-sponsored legislation to enact Restore Pennsylvania, a plan to invest $4.5 billion over the next four years in significant infrastructure projects, funded by a severance tax. Ciresi previously joined Pottstown officials on a tour of the underground arch system in May. More information from the Department of Environmental Protection on today’s tour is available here . Read more

 

Ciresi announces education grant for Pottstown School District

(Jun 28, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 28 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi announced today that Pottstown School District was awarded an environmental education grant. The $3,000 grant will be used to support the Pottstown Powered by Nature program, teaching fourth to sixth grade students scientific inquiry in environmental issues. “I’m delighted to see Pottstown School District receive this funding,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “We know that every dollar spent on our public school children pays dividends. In a world where our children will be dealing with the effects of climate change, funding specifically earmarked for environmental education is doubly impactful.” Administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Environmental Education Grant Program awards funding to organizations to implement educational projects that focus on priority topics of climate change, water, or environmental justice. Projects range from creative, hands-on lessons for students, teacher training programs, and outdoor learning resources to conservation education for adults. More information on the grants is available from DEP . Read more

 

Ciresi: Why I voted no on 2019-20 budget bill

(Jun 25, 2019)

Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a 2019-20 budget bill before the June 30 deadline, which should help us avoid the distress and service interruptions that hampered previous negotiations. And while the budget delivers some important victories that I fought for, it doesn’t go nearly far enough to solve the big problems we have with property taxes, education funding and infrastructure. I voted “no” on my first budget, and here’s why: My constituents sent me to Harrisburg to fight for property tax reform and fair funding for education. This $34 billion budget missed a golden opportunity to do the right thing and seriously address these problems. Even with the increase in basic and special education funding that the budget provides, schools in the 146 th District will remain underfunded by about $15 million – with the difference burdening our seniors, families, and homeowners through higher property taxes. And there are other missed opportunities to do what’s right for Pennsylvanians. The budget includes no increase to the minimum wage, which hasn’t changed in 10 years. It eliminates the General Assistance program, which provides emergency assistance to vulnerable residents. It puts our clean air and water at risk by diverting funds meant for environmental protection. It fails to act on charter school reform or school construction reimbursement, further burdening our property taxpayers. And, it fails to Read more

 

Ciresi announces state grants in Montgomery County

(Jun 13, 2019)

ROYERSFORD, June 13 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi today announced that multiple agencies in Montgomery County were awarded state grants through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. “These grants are going to programs that provide valuable services in our community – supporting children and crime victims, domestic violence prevention and support, and more,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “I’ve spoken directly with some of these agencies to learn more about their work and how we can connect residents to the resources they need. I appreciate their service to our communities, and I’m glad to see the state support their work with funding.” The following agencies were awarded 2019-20 Victims of Crime Act funding: Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County - $89,324 Laurel House - $366,226 Mothers Against Drunk Driving – PA State Office - $225,592 Victim Services Center of Montgomery County - $696,725 Women’s Center of Montgomery County – $366,228 The following received State Violence and Delinquency Prevention Programs funding: Family Service of Montgomery County - $150,000 for Montgomery County CTC Positive Parenting Initiative The following received Children’s Advocacy Center Advisory Committee Endowment Act – Programs Assisting Victims funding: Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County - $100,000 More information about the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime Read more

 

UPDATE: Bipartisan Health Care Initiative Passes House

(Jun 12, 2019)

Over 400,000 Pennsylvanians receive affordable health insurance through the federal marketplace known as Healthcare.gov. I am proud to co-sponsor and support House Bill 3 , which would allow Pennsylvania to set up its own state health insurance exchange, as 12 other states have already done. Why? Our state is paying the federal government $88 million annually to run our insurance exchange for us. However, it could be run more efficiently “in-house” at a cost of $30-$35 million per year, keeping that money right here in Pennsylvania. The savings from this switch would then be redirected toward lowering premiums by 5 to 10 percent. This reduction in premiums is possible by establishing a reinsurance program to help pay for high-cost claims that drive up the overall price of insurance for everyone. Not only can we save Pennsylvanians money, but by running our exchange ourselves, we can make sure that its customer assistance and outreach is tailored to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians. Also, NO new taxes or money from the General Fund would be required. It’s a win for our residents’ health and our budget. The legislation, introduced jointly by the House Democratic and Republican leaders, has been approved unanimously by the House Insurance Committee, and I look forward to voting for it in the House chamber. Joe Ciresi Read more

 

Ciresi congratulates Pottstown Area School District on 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant

(Jun 07, 2019)

State Rep. Joe Ciresi congratulates the Pottstown Area School District on being awarded a 21 st Century Community Learning Center grant to help provide more opportunities for students. The grants, through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, may be used to establish and expand community learning centers, provide academic enrichment, youth development services and literacy programs. The federal funds are intended to provide students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with additional services. Click here to read more from The Mercury about these grants. Read more

 

Ciresi introduces bill to allow school districts to choose whether to pay outside charter schools

(Jun 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 4 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi introduced legislation this week that would allow school districts to choose whether to pay charter schools that are outside their district boundaries and, therefore, outside of district oversight. Currently, school districts must pay for students from their district to attend a charter school, even if the charter school is located outside of the district’s boundaries and has not been authorized by the district. “This means that school districts are making state-mandated payments to charter schools without any ability to ensure those district students are receiving a quality education,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “It’s unfair to require districts to pay these schools when the districts have had no say in whether or not the particular charter school should be authorized in the first place.” House Bill 1571 would give the local school board of a sending school district the option of voting by June 30 of each year whether to make payments to a charter school outside the district’s boundaries and over which the district has no oversight. The bill was introduced with 18 bipartisan cosponsors. If the district chose not to pay and a student continued to attend the charter school outside the district boundaries, the student or his parents or guardians would be responsible for tuition. The student would also no longer be included in the local school district’s “average Read more

 

Ciresi announces school breakfast grants for Perkiomen Valley, Pottsgrove and Pottstown schools

(May 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 15 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi announced that schools in the Perkiomen Valley, Pottsgrove and Pottstown school districts will receive grants through Gov. Tom Wolf’s School Breakfast Initiative. Grants of up to $5,000 were awarded to 151 schools. The funds can be used to implement a school breakfast program using an “alternative serving method” like grab-and-go or breakfast in the classroom, or to expand an existing program. “We can’t expect children to learn if they’re hungry when they arrive at school. These grants make it easier for schools to get breakfast to all students, so they are ready to take on the day,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “I’m pleased to see our local school districts awarded these grants to help meet students’ needs.” The recipients are: Perkiomen Valley School District Schwenksville Elementary, $4,882 Pottsgrove School District West Pottsgrove Elementary School, $3,382 Pottsgrove Senior High School, $3,745 Ringing Rocks Elementary School, $3,402 Lower Pottsgrove Elementary School, $3,382 Pottstown School District Rupert Elementary School, $5,000 “Students are more focused and in a better position to learn when they start their days with a healthy, nutritious meal,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “However, we know that only about 52% of the students who receive a free or reduced lunch also receive Read more

 

Ciresi, Webster to host Spotted Lanternfly Prevention and Mitigation Forum

(May 08, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Reps. Joe Ciresi and Joe Webster will hold a Spotted Lanternfly Prevention and Mitigation Forum from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at Perkiomen Valley High School, 509 Gravel Pike, Collegeville 19426. A panel of experts will discuss the spotted lanternfly, how to prevent it and how to get rid of it. Guests on the panel will include Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Richard Roush, dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “We all need to be well informed in order to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “I’m pleased to be able to help bring together expert panelists to help residents know what’s at stake.” Webster added: “We’ve seen the spotted lanternfly spreading throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. We wanted to host this forum to make it easy for community members to understand how they can help control this pest.” The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that can threaten Pennsylvania’s agricultural crops such as grapes, hops and hardwoods, and is affecting quality of life for residents in heavily infested areas, according to the Department of Agriculture. Montgomery County is part of a quarantine area designed to stop the movement of the spotted lanternfly to new areas and slow its spread within the quarantine. Anyone with questions can contact Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265 Read more

 

Ciresi announces grants for Pottsgrove, Spring-Ford school districts, Pottstown Police

(May 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 1 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi announced state school safety grants were awarded to the Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford Area school districts, and a community violence prevention grant was awarded to the Pottstown Police Department. “It’s absolutely critical that we do everything we can to keep our kids safe. I’m pleased to see the school districts looking for ways to enhance safety, and I’m glad to see the state make these investments,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. The School Safety and Security Commission, part of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, awarded the grants Tuesday. The funds were included in the 2018-19 budget. The school districts were awarded School Safety and Security Grants. Pottsgrove School District was awarded $51,000. The district sought funds for work in the categories of safety and security assessments, security planning and technology, and student discipline management. Spring-Ford Area School District was awarded $386,192. The district sought funds in the categories of safety and security assessments; risk assessment, safety and violence prevention curriculum; student codes of conduct; violence prevention programs; districtwide safety, violence prevention, emergency preparedness and all hazards plans; and costs related to school resource officers or school police officers. The Pottstown Police Department also was awarded a $350,552 Community Violence Prevention/Reduction grant. Read more

 

Repairs coming for 422; Other traffic updates

(Apr 26, 2019)

Dear Neighbor, The Wolf Administration announced today that construction will begin next week on a project to rehabilitate pavement and repair seven structures along a five-mile section of Route 422 between the Royersford/Trappe and Sanatoga interchanges in Limerick and Lower Pottsgrove. Under this two-year improvement project, PennDOT’s contractor will mill, overlay and rehabilitate existing U.S. 422 pavement; perform bridge deck repairs, concrete and joint patching, sealing and drainage improvements; install new guide rail and rumble strips; and repair or replace damaged traffic signs along the corridor. Hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come. Earlier this month, I met with the governor to discuss transportation options for western Montgomery County, including the potential of trackless trams. The photo below shows Professor Peter Newman and Mark Cave – two experts in that field. I also wanted to share the following road work updates from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. PennDOT advises that you always allow extra time when driving through these areas, as slowdowns may occur. All of the work is weather-dependent. Pothole Repair Next Week Pothole repair will take place on the following roads in Montgomery County next week: U.S. 422 in Lower Providence, Upper Providence, Limerick, Lower Read more

 

Voter Registration Deadline is Monday, plus legislative updates

(Apr 22, 2019)

Monday, April 22, is the last day to register to vote before the May primary. Read more

 

Montgomery County road resurfacing to start this spring

(Apr 15, 2019)

I recently received notification from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation about work to repair and resurface 39 miles of state highway in Montgomery County, scheduled to start this spring. Read more

 

Ciresi tours Western Montgomery CTC to highlight STEM, job training

(Apr 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 12 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi toured Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center on Friday with Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak to highlight STEM and career and technical training. “I was thrilled to see the hands-on training students are getting in fields like robotics, automation, machining and more,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “It’s absolutely critical that we expose students to the careers and job opportunities that are in demand in Pennsylvania, and that we make job training available for adults as well. These are good-paying jobs that are necessary to keep our communities running, and I’ll continue to work on ways we can support these efforts.” Ciresi served on the board of directors of the Western Montgomery CTC during his years on the Spring-Ford Area School Board. Oleksiak highlighted Gov. Tom Wolf’s Statewide Workforce Education and Accountability proposal to provide an additional $10 million to expand access to education and training opportunities, apprenticeships and STEM careers. Read more here. Read more

 

Ciresi announces bill to freeze property taxes for seniors
Jul 25, 2019

Traffic Updates: U.S. 422 nighttime closures and more
Jul 19, 2019

Substance abuse prevention mini-grants awarded
Jul 18, 2019

Miss my Telephone Town Hall? Click to listen to the discussion
Jul 18, 2019

Ciresi introduces bill to help heirs access unclaimed property
Jul 17, 2019

Ciresi to host telephone town hall meeting July 17
Jul 15, 2019

Ciresi tours arch system to highlight critical infrastructure needs
Jul 10, 2019

Ciresi announces education grant for Pottstown School District
Jun 28, 2019

Ciresi: Why I voted no on 2019-20 budget bill
Jun 25, 2019

Ciresi announces state grants in Montgomery County
Jun 13, 2019

UPDATE: Bipartisan Health Care Initiative Passes House
Jun 12, 2019

Ciresi congratulates Pottstown Area School District on 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant
Jun 07, 2019

Ciresi introduces bill to allow school districts to choose whether to pay outside charter schools
Jun 05, 2019

Ciresi announces school breakfast grants for Perkiomen Valley, Pottsgrove and Pottstown schools
May 15, 2019

Ciresi, Webster to host Spotted Lanternfly Prevention and Mitigation Forum
May 08, 2019

Ciresi announces grants for Pottsgrove, Spring-Ford school districts, Pottstown Police
May 01, 2019

Repairs coming for 422; Other traffic updates
Apr 26, 2019

Voter Registration Deadline is Monday, plus legislative updates
Apr 22, 2019

Montgomery County road resurfacing to start this spring
Apr 15, 2019

Ciresi tours Western Montgomery CTC to highlight STEM, job training
Apr 12, 2019