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Senator Judy Schwank

Hello, Berks County friends!

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to join you in reflecting on what we are thankful to have as individuals and as a community. I also wanted to update you on things that have been happening on the job so you are up-to-date on matters that are near-and-dear to us.

From working on a panel that’s taking a look at our attorney general, to continuing our efforts at reforming our property tax structure, it’s been a busy month.

I am thankful for your ongoing support and ideas.

Have a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving!

Sen. Judy Schwank

Kane Matters

Senator SchwankWatch for news reports later today about our report to the Senate on our embattled state attorney general, Kathleen Kane.

I was appointed by our Democratic leader, Jay Costa, to serve on the bipartisan Special Committee on Senate Address. We were charged with determining if Kane should continue serving with a suspended law license and, for the past month, have been talking to legal experts, attorney general employees, and district attorneys – including Berks County DA John Adams.

Our report today will include preliminary findings and deliver an outline of procedures we will use if we elect to move forward with any actions.

Stay tuned.

Budget Blahs

Ten Dollar BillLike you, my frustration has grown as the shadows of our state budget impasse grow longer. Budget negotiators have been back and forth over the past few months. They said they were close to compromise and even agreed to a budget framework more than a week ago. Every day has been tenuous, though, and we still don’t have an agreement.

I believe time is running out for our human service organizations. They all need state subsidies to do what they do so well and stay open for business.

There has been talk about a possible agreement soon after the Thanksgiving break. We have been called into an unscheduled session Dec. 2. We will also be in Harrisburg Dec. 7-9.

SB 76 Property Tax ‘Defeat’

Property TaxesIt’s been no secret that I am a big proponent of property tax elimination, and that I am one of the prime co-sponsors of Senate Bill 76 to accomplish this long-overdue change.

Seeing an opening for adoption by the full Senate, we attached the language from SB 76 into an amendment and brought it to a vote Monday evening.

We fell one vote shy of success.

As I said in a press release following the vote, I am not done yet. And neither are fellow lawmakers and SB 76 supporters, as the Reading Eagle reported today.

We need to find the objections to property tax reform, work to fine-tune the plan, and educate others on its benefits. Our seniors deserve our continued focus. Our schools must have a better and more reliable source of public investment.

Scouts: Avery Burke, Julia Wentling, Helene Shevick, Sherry Heckman, Serenity Zawilla, Leah Wentzel, Maura Jones, Emma Serrian, Margaret Schillerman. Chaperones: Gretchen Wentling, Kate Burke, Eileen Shevick, Ivy Bernstiel, and Margaret Peiffer.

Girl Scout Treat

It was a special day, Oct. 17, when the Eastern PA Girl Scouts Troop 1145 visited me and the Senate.

I gave them a tour of the Capitol, took them on the Senate floor and showed them where I sit to represent Berks County, and took this photo.

I also shared their story of doing good work. Troop 1145 built a “buddy bench” in honor of Jason Heckman, the younger brother of one of the scouts who lost his fight with cancer. The buddy bench is at Lorane Elementary and is a place for students to go when they need someone to talk to or if they’re having a bad day.

Great work! Great community spirit! My pleasure meeting them and sharing their inspiration!

Consider It

Consider ItOne of the best ways to help people is working together, no matter our political ideology. We can be too defensive and too reactionary at times, and that’s detrimental to moving forward and doing good work.

In this great spirit, I helped to unveil group that will work to “promote intelligent and thorough discussion of divisive local and national issues while maintaining a level of civility among participants.”

“Consider It” is the name of the group. I am a co-chair of this worthwhile effort, along with Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach.

Berks County Community Foundation is a big supporter of Consider It, and you can read more HERE.

PA Department of RevenueProperty Tax Rebate Deadline Nearing

It’s not property tax elimination, but if you need money back for your property taxes or rent, the state has granted a property tax/rent rebate extension. But it will soon expire!

You have until the end of December to apply. Please make note of the income guidelines if you are planning to participate.

Being Social

Twitter/Facebook Facebook Twitter It’s a privilege to be your state senator, so it is important to me to be in touch with you.

I really like face-to-face meetings but understand that in this busy world, sometimes that isn’t possible. Feel free to call my office to ask questions or make suggestions. Also, you may connect with me through my pages on Facebook and Twitter. Please follow me for regular updates and comments about what’s happening in the district and in Harrisburg.

Offices to Serve You

  District Office
210 George Street
Suite 201
Reading, PA 19605
Phone: (610) 929-2151
Fax: (610) 929-2576
Harrisburg Office
457 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203011
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3011
Phone: (717) 787-8925
Fax: (717) 772-0578
PA Dept. of Revenue