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Navigating Pa.'s newest tax credit, counties sued over ballot counts, and political fortunes

Plus, Wolf takes executive action on abortion access.

A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
July 13, 2022
With credit, travel risks, ballot counts, veto penned, delete app, Senate windfall, and the Emmys shine on Philadelphia. It's Wednesday.

Pennsylvania's new budget includes a permanent child care tax credit that will allow families to claim thousands of dollars in benefits.

The $45.2 billion spending plan, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law last week, also allocates over $140 million to a temporary expansion of a property tax credit for low-income and older Pennsylvanians.

Spotlight PA has a guide to the credits and how to access them.

THE HIGHLIGHTS: The new child tax credit is modeled off of a federal child tax credit that allowed married couples earning up to $150,000 a year or a single filer making half that to qualify for the full credit amount. 

Pennsylvania's credit amount maxes out at $3,000 for people with one dependent and $6,000 for people with two or more dependents.

The credit can be claimed when filing state taxes beginning in 2023.

For the property tax and rent rebate boost, Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widowed people older than 49, and people with disabilities age 18 and up are eligible, as are homeowners with annual incomes under $35,000 and renters with annual incomes under $15,000 (some exceptions apply).

The budget uses $140 million in federal stimulus funds to expand the payments by 70% for a year. If a person received $975 from the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program last time, they will get an additional $682.50.

Anyone who received a property tax or rent rebate during the 2021 tax season is automatically eligible for the higher rebate.

Pennsylvanians can still apply for the 2021 rebate program and obtain the 70% bonus rebate until the end of this year. The bonus rebate won't be available for those applying to next year's rebate program.


"The entire purpose of this officer's presence was to identify, engage, and eliminate the threat if an active shooter situation were to arise."

—North Catasauqua Police Chief Christopher Wolfer on his decision to place a rooftop "tactical officer" with a rifle at a free outdoor concert
A "new house on the market" in Philly, courtesy of @suzartisanSend us your pics, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
EXECUTIVE ACTION: Gov. Tom Wolf has signed an executive order that says people from other states may come to Pennsylvania for an abortion without fear of being arrested or detained at the request of their home state, where tougher laws may be in effect post-Roe v. Wade. Capital-Star reports the executive order extends similar protections to those who help facilitate travel or assist with the procedure.

COUNTIES SUED: Pennsylvania's top election officials have filed suit against three counties for refusing to tally undated mail ballots cast in the May 17 primary, CNN reports. The legal action taken against Berks, Fayette, and Lancaster Counties comes after a federal court ruled that undated mail ballots should be counted in Pennsylvania — a decision the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block but could revisit.

VETO SPREE: Gov. Wolf added to his already sizable veto tally on Monday by blocking a bill that would have barred municipalities from adopting building codes that prohibit natural gas hookups, calling it a barrier to local climate change efforts. In related news: The Wolf administration is asking the state's highest court to weigh in on a ruling that stalled new checks on emissions from Pa. power plants.

APP STOP: Pennsylvania is shutting down its COVID-19 alert app, which let users anonymously self-report COVID-19 infections and then alerted other users who were near them and may have been exposed. PennLive reports the app will stop operating on July 27. State officials say it's no longer necessary despite the continued spread of infections. The app was downloaded by about 1.2 million people in total.

BIG MONEY: Democrat John Fetterman's U.S. Senate campaign raised $11 million over April, May, and June, The Inquirer reports, the most any U.S. Senate candidate in Pennsylvania has ever raised in a three-month period, according to his team. Fetterman's opponent, Mehmet Oz, has yet to disclose his most recent fundraising totals. The race is shaping up to be one of the most expensive and important in the nation.
NEW RULES: The pandemic policy of universally free school lunches is ending. Here are the new income guidelines Pennsylvania families need to meet to qualify for free and reduced-price meals going forward.

HOMEBOUND: The Lenape people were forced from their homelands in Pennsylvania and neighboring states and driven west. In an essay for HuffPost, a descendant documents the experience of going back.

LEGACY CITY: Philadelphia was the birthplace of American obstetrics and the built in racial divisions that linger in the field today, The Inquirer reports in the latest installment of its A More Perfect Union series. 

IN MOTION: More than 318,000 people moved out of Pennsylvania between January 2021 and February 2022, 16,500 more than moved in, per Axios. Neighboring states did even worse, except for Delaware.

EMMY NODS: Philly-set Abbott Elementary has seven Emmy nominations, including for the show's creator, Philly native Quinta Brunson, and actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, wife of state Sen. Vincent Hughes.
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*This week's theme: Wedding season

Yesterday's answer: Cummerbund

Congrats to our daily winners: David S., Becky C., Don H., Mary Jo J., Irene R., Craig W., Art W., Al M., Barbara F., Patricia M., Mark O., Jill M., Susan D., Barbara O., Susan N.-Z., Georgann J., Susan R., Wendy A., Lynne E., Eddy Z., John A., Elaine C., Kim C., Daniel M., Bruce B., Kimberly D., David W., Karen B., Diane P., Kevin M., James B., Michelle T., Judith D., Mike B., Dianne K., Moon M., Nancy S., Bill S., Steve H., Johnny C., Cheryl T., Michael B., and Doris T.
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