Pennsylvania lawmakers and community leaders gathered in Montgomery County Wednesday, urging the General Assembly to use $204 million in unspent American Rescue Plan funds to help older adults through property tax and rent rebates.
Pennsylvania’s Property Tax Rent Rebate Program has delivered more than $7 billion to older adults and people with disabilities for more than 50 years.
Rep. Steve Malagari, D-Montgomery, said his older constituents are facing many financial challenges, including rising prescription drug costs. He emphasized increasing the rebate could be a lifeline for them.
“Too many are struggling to stay in their homes and stay connected to the neighbors they call friends because their property tax bills or rent payments are rising beyond their control,” Malagari observed. “I know how critical the Property Tax Rent Rebate Program is in Pennsylvania and how critical it is to the seniors living here.”
The investment would be a one-time bonus, doubling existing rebates, with an estimated 466,000 Pennsylvanians receiving an additional average rebate of $475.
Gazi Razzak has lived in Lansdale for 24 years and is a recipient of the rebate program. He said any increases to the program will be helpful, especially for seniors like him, who are on a limited income.
“Right now, it is very tough because prices are rising. Food prices are record high,” Razzak pointed out. “Support for expanding the rebate is needed more than ever.”
Sen. Maria Collett, D-Montgomery, has introduced Senate Bill 1187, which would create the one-time bonus rebate. It was referred to the Urban Affairs and Housing Committee in April.
In Montgomery County, the Property Tax Rent Rebate program benefited more than 13,000 residents who received a total of $6.4 million dollars. Nearly 75% of the recipients were age 65 and older.