Congresswoman and gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz released a plan to provide senior citizens with an increased tax rebate and other protections.
The tax rebate program would increase the minimum income eligibility for seniors to qualify for rebates. Cost-wise, this would increase the senior tax rebate program by about $100 million or 35%.
Schwartz believes this can be financed reallocating lottery funds.
She faces a packed field for the Democratic nomination, that grew slightly larger today and includes: former Auditor General Jack Wagner, State Treasurer Rob McCord, former DEP Secretaries Katie McGinty and John Hanger, former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, minister Max Myers and Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz.
The entire senior citizen platform is included below, as provided by the Schwartz campaign:
Protect Seniors’ Financial Security
- Increase Senior Property Tax Rebates by $100 million by raising the maximum rebate amount and raising the personal-income level at which seniors can qualify for the rebates. This will put more dollars in our seniors’ hands.
- Relieve Pressure on Local Property Taxes for all homeowners, including seniors, by restoring the nearly $1 billion in state support for public education that Governor Tom Corbett cut from the Commonwealth’s budget.
- Guard Against Financial Scams, including “payday lenders,” looking to cash in on seniors’ pension and Social Security payments.
- Guarantee that Seniors Can Keep their Land-Line Phones, often a lifeline in time of need, by blocking efforts to drop traditional phone service in rural areas.
Ensure Seniors’ Access to Healthcare
- Allow Seniors to Live at Home by rebalancing state support for long-term care toward home and community based services and strengthening the homecare workforce.
- Assist Low-Income Seniors With the Cost of Prescription Medications by expanding the PACE and PACENET programs to provide access to prescription benefits for more seniors who fall into the current Medicare coverage gap known as the “donut hole.”
- Improve Hospital Care by setting minimum standards for nurse-to-patient ratios to prevent patient harm and improve patient satisfaction.
- Hold Nursing Homes and Other Long-Term Providers Accountable by increasing financial disclosure requirements, requiring nursing homes to maintain a suitable minimum level of nurse-aide staffing, and mandating that nursing homes spend the Medicaid funds they receive on patient care.
Protect the Rights of Seniors
- Enhance the Retirement Security of LGBT Seniors, who tend to be less secure financially than other older couples, by extending marriage rights to all citizens and enacting a law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Build a 21st Century Voting System By Offering Vote-by-Mail, early voting, and online and same-day registration – measures that will make it easier for the elderly and homebound to exercise their right to vote.
- Help Aging Pennsylvania Veterans pursue their rightful claims by increasing the number of Veterans Service Officers at county-level veterans assistance offices.
- Protect the Rights of Incapacitated Seniors by seeking reforms in laws and regulations covering guardianships.