This Week in the Shapiro Administration: Helping Seniors Stay in Their Homes, Standing up for Workers, Expanding Access to Substance Use Treatment, and More
May 12, 2023
Harrisburg, PA – This week, Governor Josh Shapiroand his Administration continued to serve the people of Pennsylvania, putting forward commonsense solutions to allow seniors to stay in their homes, holding employers accountable for misclassifying their employees, expanding access to substance use treatment, making voting resources more accessible, and more. On Monday, Governor Shapiro visited the West Shore Senior Center to highlight his budget proposal’s expansion of the Property/Tax Rent Rebate program to provide a lifeline to seniors, renters, and homeowners.
Additionally, in a new op-ed in PennLive, Governor Shapiro highlighted recent economic development and expansion announcements in the Commonwealth, his budget’s significant down payments on economic development and innovation, and his executive orders to make state government move at the speed of business.
Pennsylvania agencies also announced steps the Commonwealth is taking to make voting information more accessible ahead of the May 16 primary election, support Pennsylvania workers, raise awareness on federal changes to Medicaid and CHIP renewal requirements, expand substance use disorder services, and more.
Read about the Shapiro Administration’s work across Pennsylvania this week below:
Governor Josh Shapiro Highlights Proposal to Expand the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
- Governor Shapiro visited the West Shore Senior Center in Cumberland County to highlight his proposal to expand the Property Tax/Rent Rebate for Pennsylvania seniors.
- The Governor’s budget proposal would raise the maximum rebate for seniors from $650 to $1,000, increases the income cap for renters and homeowners to $45,000 a year, and ties the cap to increases in the cost of living. Under the Governor’s plan, nearly 175,000 more Pennsylvanians will qualify for the PTRR program – including an estimated 5,000 in Cumberland and Dauphin counties – and many of the 400,000 people who already qualify will see their rebates nearly double.
- The Erie Times, PennLive, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the Scranton Times-Tribune also ran an op-ed by Department of Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich and Department of Revenue Acting Secretary Pat Browne detailing Governor Shapiro’s proposed expansion of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program and how it will bolster a key lifeline to seniors and support Pennsylvania renters and homeowners.
Secretary Russell Redding Confirmed to Lead Department of Agriculture
- This week, the Senate unanimously confirmed Secretary Russell Redding – a 25-year veteran of the Department of Agriculture – to serve as Pennsylvania’s 27th Secretary of Agriculture. Under Secretary Redding’s leadership in the Shapiro Administration, the Department of Agriculture has led a coordinated response to the Hi-Path Avian Influenza outbreak, invested more than $15 million in partnership with local governments to protect farms from residential and commercial development, and secured an $8.8 million boost in federal food assistance funding to administer nutrition programs for low-income seniors.
Supporting Pennsylvania Workers, Holding Employers Accountable
- The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) recently collected a $22,150 fine from a Georgia-based contractor for violations of the Pennsylvania Construction Workplace Misclassification Act (Act 72) and the Pennsylvania Child Labor Act following an October 2022 incident in which a 17-year-old worker fell 24 feet from a New Castle home improvement store’s roof. As a result of the fall from the roof, the 17-year-old survivor was air-lifted from the site of the accident for medical treatment.
- Currently, the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance has 27 investigators to cover all 67 counties in Pennsylvania – that’s why Governor Shapiro’s proposed 2023-2024 budget includes funding for eight more labor law compliance investigators to further protect Pennsylvania’s children and workers.
Raising Awareness on Federal Healthcare Changes
- Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh joined representatives from the Berks Community Health Center and Pennie® to highlight how the Shapiro Administration, Pennie, and community organizations are collaborating to support Pennsylvanians through federal changes to Medicaid and CHIP renewal requirements so they can protect their health and stay covered.
- DHS and Pennie® also announced a collaborative multichannel, long-term outreach strategy to raise awareness of the critical need for Pennsylvanians to complete their Medicaid and CHIP renewals on time when it is their turn to maintain health care coverage.
Making Voting Information More Accessible
- Ahead of the May 16 primary election, Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt reminded Pennsylvania voters they can find comprehensive voting information at vote.pa.gov. Ensuring that our elections are conducted freely and fairly, and that every eligible voter can make their voice heard, are top priorities of the Shapiro Administration.
- New this year on vote.pa.gov are webpages fully translated into Spanish and Chinese so Spanish and Chinese-speaking voters can navigate available resources without having to maneuver through pages in English.
Expanding Access to Substance Use Disorder Services
- The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs announced more than $6 million in grant funding for organizations to establish or expand substance use disorder services, community outreach and education to underrepresented communities struggling with the opioid overdose crisis.
- Through this funding award, 19 organizations are receiving grants up to $400,000 for a 12-month period beginning July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. Funds shall be applied toward a range of activities, including construction and building infrastructure, staffing, and evidence-based programming.
Supporting Older Adults’ Mental Health
- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Department of Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich, and Department of Health Acting Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen visited The Miller Center for Recreation and Wellness in Lewisburg, Union County, this week to highlight the importance of connecting older adults to the outdoors to promote the physical and mental health benefits they can gain through spending time in nature.
- Governor Shapiro’s first budget proposal allocates funding for the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation to help connect state agencies with the private industries and communities seeking to leverage outdoor recreation for economic development.