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Telephone Town Hall

TelephoneHappy New Year! I’m excited to get moving on a new year, and my first event of the year will be a Telephone Town Hall on Monday, January 27, at 6 p.m.

Sometimes we have specific topics for these town halls, or even guests, but this one will be open ended. That means you are welcome to ask anything related to state government issues, or issues in the district.

If you would like to listen in, you can sign up by texting SENSCHWANK to 833-TXT-LIVE (833-898-5483), or by giving your information to my district office at 610-929-2151 or filling it out here

Addressing School Property Taxes

Sen. Dave Argall and I appeared on the League of Women Voters of Berks County’s live BCTV program to give viewers an update on legislation addressing the issue of school property taxes. As you may know, I was part of a legislative workgroup that met several times throughout the summer and fall to review this issue. As a result, there are now five separate proposals to address school property taxes in addition to SB 76, which was introduced earlier this session (I’m one of its seven prime sponsors). These additional five proposals were sent to Senate and House leadership for them to see what their members will support – that means 26 votes in the Senate, 102 votes in the House and the signature of the Governor. The proposals are not finalized and can certainly be amended as they move through the legislative process.  I will continue to advocate and provide leadership for this issue here and in Harrisburg. We need to restart the discussion because the nothing that has happened so far is just not acceptable.

Sen. Dave Argall and I appeared on the League of Women Voters of Berks County’s live BCTV program to give viewers an update on school property taxes. 

Farm Show

I was one of the 500,000 people who attended the 104th Annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. This year’s theme was “Imagine the Opportunities” and encouraged visitors to find their place in agriculture as a consumer or producer – or think about a future career in agriculture. One of my favorite exhibits this year was Bell & Evans with their animal-welfare-focused chicken Hatchery demonstration. Learn more about that in this video:

2020 Farm Show - Bell & Evans Hatchery :: January 2020

Property Tax Relief

Property TaxDon’t forget that you may be eligible for property tax relief. Under the Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006, most owner-occupied homes and farms are eligible. The Relief Act provides property tax reduction allocations to be distributed by the commonwealth to school districts. This happens through a “homestead or farmstead exclusion.”

To receive school property tax relief for tax years beginning July 1 or January 1, an application for homestead or farmstead exclusions must be filed by the preceding March 1. For information on what defines a homestead, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development website and search “Property Tax Relief Through Homestead Exclusion.”

Residents are only eligible for the property tax reduction if they have filed the appropriate homestead/farmstead exclusion form with the Berks County Assessment Office. You can get a form by contacting the business office of your local school district. If you need help completing the form, contact your school district or the Berks County Assessment Office at 610-478-6262.

If your property has previously been approved as a “homestead” or “farmstead” and ownership has not changed hands, there is nothing you need to do to qualify for this year’s tax break.

But, if you’ve never filed for the homestead exclusion or the property has changed hands, you must file the homestead exclusion application before March 1.

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