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Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Nov 01, 2018)

The 2018-2019 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – is accepting applications for heating assistance grants. LIHEAP offers cash grants of $200 to $1,000 that are sent directly to the utility company to defray heating costs for eligible households, and crisis benefits of up to $600 for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Remember: These are grants and do not have to be repaid. This season’s income guidelines for both LIHEAP cash and crisis grants are $18,210 for an individual, $24,690 for couples and increases for each additional person in the household. Please click here for more LIHEAP information. Please consider visiting my office if you need help filing a LIHEAP application. Besides my office, LIHEAP information is available by: Contacting local County Assistance offices by phone or in person. Calling the LIHEAP Client Helpline at 1-866-857-7095 or PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Applying online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more

 

Statement from Jewish members of Pa. House on Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

(Oct 27, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 27 – State Reps. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, Michael Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, and Jared Solomon, D-Phila., today issued the following statement on the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh: “We are shocked, horrified and deeply saddened by the tragic shooting today at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Our deepest sympathies are with the victims, their families and friends, and the entire community as we all begin to come to terms with what transpired today. We are also immeasurably grateful to the swift and courageous response of local law enforcement who managed to force the suspect into surrendering, and we salute particularly those officers who were injured in the fight. “These acts of hate and violence have no place in our communities, our Commonwealth or our country. Sadly, they have become all too common. And for it to occur in a synagogue on the Sabbath is all the more heartbreaking, that someone would take the holiest of days to murder innocent worshipers. “With each shooting we all ask, 'Will this be the one that prompts real change?' Yet, instead of fostering change, it seems to foster a numbness and a callousness in our culture, a culture that accepts these incidents as a fact of life. We cannot and will not live in a society where we have to explain to our children and their children that this behavior is something that just happens in the United Read more

 

Senior prescription program expanded to help more people

(Oct 23, 2018)

I voted for legislation that would allow more senior citizens in Northampton County and across the state pay for their prescription medication. Putting people first and focusing on health care is part of the House Democrats' Plan for Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Pennsylvania receives extension for REAL ID

(Oct 11, 2018)

Pennsylvania has been granted a REAL ID enforcement extension by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through August 1, 2019. This extension means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding domestic commercial aircraft through at least that date. REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards will be available from PennDOT at the customer’s option beginning March 2019. PennDOT is encouraging customers to pre-verify for REAL ID the required documentation as soon as possible, giving them ample time to prepare. More information about what documents will be required is available on PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website . More information about REAL ID, including frequently asked questions , can be found at www.dmv.pa.gov . Read more

 

Your Report from Rep. Robert Freeman: Fall 2018

(Sep 06, 2018)

Be sure to check out my latest newsletter. Read more

 

Freeman announces preservation grant for Easton’s Simon silk mill project

(Aug 09, 2018)

EASTON, Aug. 9 – State Rep. Robert Freeman announced today that the Simon Silk Mill in Easton was awarded $200,000 in tax credits through the 2017-18 Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, leveraging more than $7 million in estimated construction expenditures. “The use of these historic tax credits will greatly assist the ongoing revitalization of the former silk mill complex," said Freeman, D-Northampton. "We have already seen how the Simon Silk Mill is being transformed into apartments, restaurants and other commercial spaces. This funding will compliment that effort and help keep it moving forward." Freeman said the use of historic tax credits for the rehabilitation of the impressive 19 th -century buildings that make up the silk mill complex reflects the historic significance of this National Historic Register-listed property. “The Simon Silk Mill complex demonstrates the great potential that comes from the adaptive reuse of older factory buildings,” Freeman noted. The Department of Community and Economic Development, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, administers the Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program. Since 2013, the program has invested more than $15 million to revitalize 81 historic buildings across the commonwealth that contribute to the distinct character of Pennsylvania. The application date for fiscal year 2018-19 is Nov. 1. More information about the program can be Read more

 

Property tax circuit breaker proposed by Freeman

(Jul 31, 2018)

HARRISBURG, July 31 – Homeowners would be protected from property tax overload under legislation (H.B. 2577) introduced by state Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton. Read more

 

Hellertown transportation project awarded state grant

(Jul 12, 2018)

HELLERTOWN, July 12 – State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, said Hellertown Borough has received $67,982 in state grant funding from PennDOT’s Green Light-Go Program for a transportation project to improve safety and enhance mobility. Read more

 

Lehigh Canal project gains Historic Preservation Grant

(Jun 13, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 13 – The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor was awarded a $25,000 Keystone Historic Preservation Grant, according to state Rep. Bob Freeman. Read more

 

PHEAA Reminds Students of Approaching 2018-19 PA State Grant Application Deadline

(Apr 25, 2018)

The 2018-19 PA State Grant application filing deadline is Tuesday, May 1. This deadline applies to all renewal applicants and first-time applicants who plan to enroll in colleges, universities, or a college transfer program at 2-year public or private colleges (except community colleges and designated Pennsylvania Open Admission institutions). Additionally, unlike a student loan, a grant is gift aid which does not have to be repaid. To apply for a PA State Grant, applicants must first complete the 2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applicants can access this form online by clicking here or here . In addition to completing the FAFSA, first-time applicants must also submit a completed PA State Grant Form. First-time applicants who submit the FAFSA online will be automatically redirected to the SGF by following the onscreen prompts on the confirmation page. First-time applicants who have already submitted their FAFSA but have not completed the SGF will receive an email directing them to PHEAA’s secure Account Access site for completion. Both applications are free to submit. First-time applicants who plan to enroll in a community college, business, trade, or technical school, a hospital school of nursing, a designated Pennsylvania Open Admission institution, or a non-transferable 2-year degree program at a community, 2-year or 4-year college have until Aug. 1, 2018 to complete their PA State Grant application. Students and families are Read more

 

Rep Freeman bill would help communities with high percentage of tax-exempt properties

(Apr 20, 2018)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, has reintroduced legislation H.B. 2271 ) that would provide funding to municipalities with high levels of tax-exempt property, such as major universities, non-profit medical facilities, government offices or state forests and game lands. "Municipalities with a significant amount of tax-exempt property, including several in the Lehigh Valley, have difficulty providing the essential services expected from local government because of the effect tax-exempt properties have on the real estate tax base of the community," Freeman said. "By providing annual funding to these municipalities, we can enable them to fix and maintain infrastructure and to provide the essential services that ensure the health and safety of their citizens." The bill would establish the Tax Exempt Property Municipal Assistance Fund to help municipalities with 15 percent or more of tax-exempt property within their borders. It would be funded by the state's 18 percent Liquor Tax, known as the Johnstown Flood Tax. The tax generated approximately $270 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year. "The tax did its job a long time ago, and that was to rebuild Johnstown after it was devastated by a flood," Freeman said. "It's time to target that money to municipalities that are falling further into financial distress simply because they have significant amounts of tax-exempt properties within their boundaries. This legislation can Read more

 

Rep. Freeman bill would promote redevelopment of abandoned factory buildings

(Apr 19, 2018)

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has reintroduced legislation (H.B. 2269) that would establish tax incentives to promote redevelopment and reuse of vacant factory or mill buildings in municipalities in Pennsylvania. "Adaptive reuse or using a building for the purpose other than which it was originally intended, is a way to reuse buildings that have stood in our communities for decades. Repurposing an old factory or mill for retail, office or arts space, or transforming them into dwellings, encourages economic development and improves the quality of life of a community," Freeman said. "Some of these buildings have withstood the test of time for more than 100 years. They might be vacant, but they are still standing. My bill would provide an incentive to breathe new life into these buildings – many of which are part of a community heritage and identity." Freeman’s bill would establish three types of tax incentive programs: A 25 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation and reconstruction costs incurred by the owner; A business tax credit equal to the salaries and wages paid to full-time employees, up to a maximum of $5,000 per employee; and An interest income tax credit of 10 percent on the interest from loans for the expenditures within the building. The limit would be up to $10,000 per taxable year. The loan holder also would be eligible for a 100 percent tax credit, up to $20,000 per taxable year, on interest Read more

 

State grant for transportation project awarded in Hellertown

(Feb 26, 2018)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, said Hellertown Borough has received $126,173 in state grant funding for a transportation project to improve safety and mobility and reduce congestion. Freeman said Main Street pedestrian countdown indicators will be installed in Hellertown. “This funding will allow Hellertown Borough to maintain and improve traffic in the community to keep the road safe for pedestrians and drivers,” Freeman said. The state funding comes from revenue generated from automated red light enforcement violations in Philadelphia. Under the state law that established the program, projects that improve safety, enhance mobility and reduce congestion can be considered for funding. The grants are administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Maintenance and Operations. Freeman said projects were chosen on criteria that included project benefits and effectiveness, cost, local and regional impact and cost sharing. Read more

 

Your Report from Rep. Robert Freeman: Winter 2017-2018

(Feb 01, 2018)

Be sure to check out my latest newsletter. Read more

 

Freeman announces $1.5 million in state grants for Easton and Freemansburg

(Dec 22, 2017)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, is pleased to announce that two projects in his legislative district have been awarded Redevelopment Assistance Capitol Program grants totaling $1.5 million. Freeman said the two projects are as follows: $1 million for the North Fourth Street Parking Deck. $500,000 for Freemansburg Borough Municipal Complex improvements. “The state’s sizable investment shows that the projects are headed in the right direction,” Freeman said. ‘The projects are significant investments in Easton and Freemansburg.” “The parking garage project is seen by the city as important to address the increased number of people coming to downtown Easton for its many tourist attractions, restaurants, and community venues such as the Centre Square Farmers Market and the indoor Easton Public Market,” he said. “The funding for the Freemansburg Borough Hall is needed to upgrade and improve borough facilities in a community with a limited tax base. The improvements envisioned will enhance the operation of Freemansburg's borough government and emergency services operations,” he said. The RACP grant program is administered by the governor’s Office of the Budget to foster economic, cultural, civic and historical projects with significant potential for improving economic growth with new jobs. Read more

 

Freeman bill would require auditor general to examine legislature's expenses

(Dec 21, 2017)

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, is urging the legislature to take up legislation he has introduced ( H.B. 1257 ) which would require the Pennsylvania auditor general to audit the financial affairs of the General Assembly and its legislative service agencies. “In light of recent revelations regarding settlements being paid out, my legislation is very timely,” Freeman said. “I think it is in the best interest of the people of Pennsylvania that we have greater transparency and more accountability as to how the legislature spends taxpayers’ money.” As it now stands, the General Assembly is audited by a certified public accountant hired by the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission. Freeman said that under his bill, the auditor general would be required to perform annual audits of the legislature’s finances and would be permitted to perform special audits if deemed necessary as well. Copies of the audits would be provided to the president pro tempore of the Senate, minority leader of the Senate, speaker of the House and minority leader of the House. “We continually talk of the need for greater financial transparency in government, so this is a chance for us to open the books and reveal just how taxpayers’ money is being spent by the legislature,” Freeman said. Freeman said the completed copies of the audits would then be available to the public. Freeman introduced H.B. 1257 in April and has introduced it in Read more

 

2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar

(Dec 18, 2017)

Please download and enjoy this free 2018 calendar featuring seasonal photos of our beautiful state Capitol. Read more

 

Rep. Freeman: $278,000 to Northampton County for community revitalization

(Dec 13, 2017)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, announced that the city of Easton and Hellertown Borough has received a total of $278,000 in state funding through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Freeman said the Community Conservation Partnerships Program allows the public and private sector to work together to make neighborhoods and business areas economically strong. The grant awards are as follows: The city of Easton - $100,000 for rehabilitation and further development of Centre Square Park. Work will include renovation of a pedestrian plaza and pedestrian walk ways; installation of lighting; ADA access; landscaping, and other related site improvements. Hellertown Borough - $178,000 Rehabilitation of Dimmick Park. Work will include installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing; construction of storm water management measures; ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements. "These grants mean a great deal to communities for projects without placing the additional cost onto local taxpayers," Freeman said. The program is administered by DCNR. The Community Conservation Partnerships Program is designed to help local governments and recreation and conservation organizations with funding to help with projects related to parks, conservation and recreation Read more

 

Rep. Freeman reintroduces bill to make health insurance more affordable with state-offered health insurance for individuals and businesses

(Dec 13, 2017)

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced legislation that would make health insurance more affordable for Pennsylvanians by permitting the State Workers’ Insurance Fund to sell health insurance. The State Workers' Insurance Fund within the Department of Labor and Industry was established by law many years ago to provide a workers' compensation program for Pennsylvania businesses that could not access workers' comp insurance in the private sector. It is only permitted to sell workers' compensation insurance. Freeman's bill would expand its offerings to include health insurance. "By allowing SWIF to offer health insurance, it would make a quality insurance product available to Pennsylvanians at a lower cost than current rates because of its lower administrative overhead, and it would create more competition within the health insurance market," Freeman said. "In addition, by making this available in the market, it would serve as a yardstick by which to measure the fairness of rates charged by private health insurance companies. "Health insurance rates are increasing considerably. I believe that this proposal will effectively bring health care policies back to an affordable range for the average Pennsylvanian. It would offer a less costly alternative to the current private health plans offered today," he said. Freeman said this new ability would not be an extra cost to taxpayers; the Read more

 

Rep. Freeman announces $155,000 state grant for Dimmick Park in Hellertown

(Nov 14, 2017)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, today announced $155,000 in state funding has been awarded for a project in his legislative district. Hellertown was awarded the grant to rehabilitate the heavily used play area in Dimmick Park. The borough intends to expand the playground area to accommodate new fencing, playground surface and gate. The sidewalk and handicapped access to the playground will also be improved and the play area expanded. “The park is heavily used by adults and children on a daily basis and is a vital component of the community so this funding will be put to good use for upgrades,” Freeman said. “The play area is in the corner of Dimmick Park which is near the ball fields and is used heavily by families on athletic game days as well as throughout the week.” The state funding was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, an independent agent created by the legislature to administer a variety of the state’s economic stimulus initiatives. The funding was made available through the local share account established in the state gaming law. Read more

 

Heating aid via LIHEAP now open
Nov 01, 2018

Statement from Jewish members of Pa. House on Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
Oct 27, 2018

Senior prescription program expanded to help more people
Oct 23, 2018

Pennsylvania receives extension for REAL ID
Oct 11, 2018

Your Report from Rep. Robert Freeman: Fall 2018
Sep 06, 2018

Freeman announces preservation grant for Easton’s Simon silk mill project
Aug 09, 2018

Property tax circuit breaker proposed by Freeman
Jul 31, 2018

Hellertown transportation project awarded state grant
Jul 12, 2018

Lehigh Canal project gains Historic Preservation Grant
Jun 13, 2018

PHEAA Reminds Students of Approaching 2018-19 PA State Grant Application Deadline
Apr 25, 2018

Rep Freeman bill would help communities with high percentage of tax-exempt properties
Apr 20, 2018

Rep. Freeman bill would promote redevelopment of abandoned factory buildings
Apr 19, 2018

State grant for transportation project awarded in Hellertown
Feb 26, 2018

Your Report from Rep. Robert Freeman: Winter 2017-2018
Feb 01, 2018

Freeman announces $1.5 million in state grants for Easton and Freemansburg
Dec 22, 2017

Freeman bill would require auditor general to examine legislature's expenses
Dec 21, 2017

2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar
Dec 18, 2017

Rep. Freeman: $278,000 to Northampton County for community revitalization
Dec 13, 2017

Rep. Freeman reintroduces bill to make health insurance more affordable with state-offered health insurance for individuals and businesses
Dec 13, 2017

Rep. Freeman announces $155,000 state grant for Dimmick Park in Hellertown
Nov 14, 2017