Gov. Josh Shapiro joined The Morning News w/Nancy Kman and Jason Barsky on WILK Newsradio in Pittston on Wednesday to talk about the expansion of the property tax rent rebate program, challenges he faced in his first year in office, the 14th Amendment challenges in Colorado and Maine, as well as a little NFL football smack talk.
House Bill 1100 increases the income limits for the Property Tax / Rent Rebate (PTRR) program to $45,000 for Homeowners and $45,000 for Renters. It is estimated that under these proposed income limits, an additional 173,000 individuals will qualify for the PTRR either as homeowners or renters.
“Basically in a nutshell, what it does is it expands the property tax rent levy, and it gives our seniors the largest tax cut in nearly two decades,” said Shapiro. “I mean, this is huge. And let me boil down what this means for folks in northeastern Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,900 more seniors in Lackawanna County alone are now going to be eligible for property tax relief. And nearly 6,000 more seniors in Luzerne County are going to qualify soon as your new people who qualify and for those who already qualified, you know who you are because you got the relief already. Your rebates you’re going to nearly double.
“All of this begins on January 16. That is when you can start to apply. And any renter or homeowner who brings in less than 45,000 bucks a year is now going to be able to qualify for relief. This is huge. You know folks in Harrisburg have been talking about giving seniors a tax cut for two decades. We got it done in our first you know, basically six, seven months in office. It’s something I campaigned on. I spent a lot of time in northeastern Pennsylvania talking about it and we got it done and now this year you have to wait. This isn’t only one of those things where it passes and have to wait 10 years. This year, you’re gonna qualify to get that relief and it’s huge and we’re really proud of it.”
The governor talked again about the challenges posed as the only state chief executive with a divided legislature (i.e. House controlled by Democrats, Senate controlled by Republicans).
“Now, the good news is it forces us to compromise and it forces us to come together and find common ground and get meaningful things done,” he said. “And we’ve proven that we can do that the largest investment ever in public education. We got done with Democrats and Republicans, a massive investment in public safety. We were able to hire 400 new state troopers. I got that to the budget after campaigning on it.
“Historic relief for seniors. We haven’t talked about it yet. Police should the largest child care tax credit ever in Pennsylvania. And these are just a few examples of things we were able to get done bringing Democrats and Republicans together.
“I think what we’ve been able to prove this year is our GSD attitude – our get stuff done attitude – that it works and we can bring people together around getting things done. I know that people are frustrated a lot by DC and frustrated by national politics, but I think we’re a bit of a bright spot here and that we’re proving in Pennsylvania, you can actually work together and get stuff done. And we’re really proud of that.”
When asked about the 2024 presidential election, Shapiro noted “this will be the first presidential race where AI – Artificial Intelligence – is going to play a role and you’re gonna have a lot of fake and false information being served up to people will look very real. And I think what we’re going to have to do is just be very, very vigilant as consumers of information.
“We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that the people of Pennsylvania get the facts, get the information, have access to the ballot box, that those votes are counted, and that they’re counted and we respect the will of the people. That’ll be my job as governor.”
Shapiro added that he will be attending President Joe Biden’s campaign address on the preservation and protection of democracy in Valley Forge on Saturday.
“It’s an issue that is important to me having defeated Donald Trump over 30 times in court in the last election cycle where he tried to thwart the will of the people of Pennsylvania,” said the former Pennsylvania Attorney General. “I think we all have a responsibility to protect our democracy and I’m going to do everything in my power politically to support the president and I recognize that there’s some folks, Nancy, on this radio show that might disagree with that perspective. But that is my perspective, and I respect others’ perspectives. I’m going to be out there doing what I can to make sure we defend our democracy and and I’ll be supporting the president.”
In regards to the ballot challenges facing Trump, Shapiro made his opinion clear.
“I think that that’s up to the voters. And if there’s a challenge, it’s up to the courts. We’ve made clear that the Secretary of State, the governor, do not have the authority to remove any candidate. Forget Donald Trump, any candidate from the ballot. That’s a question for the courts to decide.”
Shapiro, ever the Philadelphia fan, also talked a little Eagles football.
“It’s crazy to think after the last few weeks, we can still win the division,” he opined. “If we win this game, which we should this weekend (versus the New York Giants), and Dallas loses, which of course, Dallas sucks. We always root against them.”
Co-host Jason Barsky commented that “If you ever run for president there goes your shot at winning in Texas.”
“By the way, I grew up my parents taught me to love everything except two things,” Shapiro added. “One are the Celtics and the other, the Cowboys.”