(The Center Square) — Senate leadership signaled a willingness on Monday to consider expanding the Pennsylvania property tax and rent rebate program, though any potential deal may be more conservative than wanted by the governor.

In a statement to The Center Square, Majority Leader Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, said he believes “there is some merit to a closer look at” the proposal as part of budget negotiations.

“The budget for the upcoming fiscal year must be a responsible spending plan that will help put us on a path to strengthen Pennsylvania now and in future years,” he said.

The comment comes after the House approved an expansion bill that would increase the income cap and rebate amounts for the program after nearly two decades of stagnation. The primary beneficiaries of the property tax and rent rebate program are seniors — a rapidly expanding segment of the population — and those living with disabilities.

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The Department of Aging says the extra cash will not only help pay for essentials, but also keep seniors living at home for longer. The rebate often covers costs that benefit whole families who are pulling together to care for both children and the elderly, a circumstance state agencies find themselves grappling with more and more.

House Bill 1100 would increase the maximum rebate from $650 to $1,000 and raise the income cap to $45,000, tying it to the consumer price index. This will make 175,000 Pennsylvanians eligible for the program for the first time and nearly double the rebate many are already receiving, the administration said.

According to estimates from the Department of Revenue, the expanded benefits would cost $333.8 million in the 2024–25 fiscal year — a 69 percent increase over current spending. The annual price tag would climb in tandem with income thresholds that will adjust annually based on inflation.

It’s unclear how much of the proposal will survive in the Senate, if at all, though it remains one of the governor’s top priorities.

This piece was originally published in The Center Square. Read the original article here.

Christen joins The Center Square as its Pennsylvania News Editor and brings with her more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues from all angles. She’s a Pennsylvania State University alumna and has been published in the The Washington Examiner, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, RealClear and Broad + Liberty, among others.

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