Reps. White, Solomon to Introduce Legislation to Immediately Release Property Tax Rebates and Help Hospitals Purchase Ventilators
HARRISBURG—Reps. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) and Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) will introduce legislation to encourage hospitals to purchase the ventilators and other necessary equipment they need to combat this pandemic by letting the state buy back unused equipment at cost.
White and Solomon will also introduce legislation to speed up property tax and rent rebates to qualified recipients.
“The federal government is considering a cash stimulus of up to $1,200 or more per individual,” White said. “To complement that, the state should distribute funds from the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program as a way to provide additional liquidity to those in need.”
Right now, rebates are distributed starting July 1.
Their legislation would direct the Department of Revenue and Treasury to process 2019 rebate payments for all homeowners and renters who received a 2018 rebate, and to issue those payments immediately. For anyone who became eligible in the past year, rebates would be issued immediately upon receipt of their application instead of waiting until July 1.
“The more money we quickly get back to Pennsylvanians, particularly the elderly, the disabled, and the poor, the better chances our state has of weathering this crisis,” White said.
“This virus has completely disrupted the lives of many hard-working Pennsylvanians and small businesses, leaving them both in a whirlwind of financial difficulty and uncertainty,” Solomon said. “Solidarity between the political parties are a must now more than ever because residents are looking to us for solutions.”
White and Solomon also want to encourage the purchase of life-saving hospital equipment by creating a state buy-back program for unused devices.
“As the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to rise,” White said. “U.S. hospitals are already experiencing increased demand for beds and ventilators. Shortages in Italy and other countries have resulted in selective care and many experts are warning that if the latest projections come true, the U.S. could see as many as 4.8 million hospitalizations due to COVID-19.”
The American Hospital Association also projects that 960,000 patients infected with COVID-19 could require mechanical ventilation.
“But as the Society for Critical Care Medicine reports, the number of ventilators available to patients is short of what is necessary to respond to these projections which would leave just one serviceable ventilator for every five patients,” Solomon said.
As the cost of new ventilators ranges from $25,000 to $50,000 per unit, many hospitals are hesitant to purchase new equipment as they weigh the short-term needs with long-term budgetary concerns.
White and Solomon’s legislation will encourage hospitals to purchase necessary equipment during this crisis by providing them the support they need to better care for our impacted populations by allowing the state to buy back the unused equipment.
The legislation also allows Pennsylvania to build up a strategic reserve of critical supplies that can then be borrowed or purchased by other states that need it.