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Property Tax/Rent Rebate Outreach Schedule

Property taxes continue to be a burden on our fixed income senior citizens and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one way to provide some financial relief until we legislate meaningful residential property tax reform in Harrisburg. My staff is looking forward to getting out into the community to ensure that our eligible property owners and renters are applying for this important benefit.

Over the next month, my staff will travel to communities across Lackawanna County to assist residents in applying for the state’s 2019 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

The Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities ages 18 and older. Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate. The maximum standard rebate is $650, and half of the applicants' Social Security income is excluded. 

To apply for a Property Tax/Rent Rebate, residents are required to provide proof of their 2019 income (W-2, 1099, etc.); a current government issued ID; and proof of property taxes or rent paid in 2019.

Additional dates and locations will be added to our outreach schedule over the next few weeks.

Policy Committee Discusses Corporate Tax Fairness in Harrisburg

Corporate Tax Fairness Hearing - WatchEarlier this week, I joined Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery) and our colleagues on the Senate Democratic Policy Committee for a public hearing on legislative strategies to make corporate taxes more equitable.

We have been working for years to close the so called “Delaware Loophole” and I have sponsored legislation in prior legislative sessions that would have required combined reporting while significantly reducing Pennsylvania’s current corporate net income (CNI) tax rate, which, at 9.99% is among the highest in the nation.  According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center report, over 70 percent of companies operating in Pennsylvania which are subject to the CNI pay no taxes.

The primary focus of this hearing is legislation that Sen. Muth and I are working on that would establish combined reporting in Pennsylvania; reduce the CNI tax rate; and stop the pervasive incidence of legal tax avoidance by large national or multinational corporations.   If our bill were to become law these huge corporations would no longer be able to shift taxable income or assets to affiliates or subsidiaries to avoid taxation.

Since 1972, the corporate share of Pennsylvania’s total General Fund tax revenue has dropped from 30 to 15 percent.   This means the state’s tax burden has been shifted on to workers, small businesses and onto those corporations which make significant investments here but have no other entities to shift their taxable earnings to avoid paying the 9.99% CNI.

Combined reporting for corporate tax purposes has been implemented in 28 states and in Washington DC, in addition to being the prevailing federal corporate tax policy.   States which have decided to move to combined reporting include Texas, Alaska, Kansas, Utah, Montana, Michigan, West Virginia and virtually every state in New England.

In each of these states it is clear that moving to combined reporting has had no deleterious effect on states’ economic performance – it has no effect on business investment, job growth or wages.

Click here to view the hearing in its entirety and to learn more about our work make corporate taxes more equitable in Pennsylvania.

Around the District

We recently kicked off our 7th year of our Student Ambassador Program at Lackawanna College. This year we have a very talented group of 20 high school seniors from schools across the 22nd District.

Glad to join a number of local officials to break ground at the future location of the Scranton Counseling Center. I was proud to advocate for more than $4 million in state RACP funding for this important project.


Glad to join DCED Executive Deputy Secretary Neil Weaver on a tour of Cardbox Packaging in Pittston Township. I appreciate the work of the Governor's Action Team and DCED to attract this impressive manufacturing facility to our region.

This week I stood with Gov. Tom Wolf and Scranton School District Superintendent Missy McTiernan to support his proposal to make $1 billion in grants available to schools to remediate lead and asbestos plagued facilities that are dangerous to the health of our students and teachers.


Over $4 Million in LSA Grants Awarded to Projects in 22nd District

We recently announced that over $4 million dollars in state grants have been awarded to important community and economic development projects throughout the 22nd Senatorial District.

The funding, approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) through the Monroe County Local Share Account (LSA), includes the rehabilitation and improvement of multiple community spaces; projects that enhance public safety and the capabilities of our local police departments; and important economic development projects that will grow our economy and attract business growth and public interest in NEPA.

The LSA grant program continues to provide extraordinary benefits to communities and important projects across our region. I was proud to work with state Reps. Mike Carroll, Marty Flynn, Kyle Mullins, Bridget Malloy Kosierowski, Maureen Madden and Karen Boback to identify important projects across the district.

For a complete list of LSA grants awarded in the 22nd District, click here.

Lackawanna River Named 2020 Pennsylvania River of the Year!

I am thrilled to announce that the Lackawanna River has been voted the 2020 River of the Year by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers! Congratulations to Bernie McGurl and the Lackawanna River Conservation Association on this well-deserved honor which recognizes the outstanding work they have done to revitalize and protect the river for decades.

The Lackawanna River has become one of the best success stories in our region – once overrun by pollution and toxins from sewage and anthracite coal mines, it is now a “Class A” fishery that attracts sportsmen and women from across the country.

DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways and Rivers will work with the Lackawanna River Conservation Association to create a commemorative poster celebrating the Lackawanna River as the 2020 PA River of the Year.  The LRCA will also receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund a slate of year-long 2020 River of the Year activities.

The Lackawanna River flows 60 miles through Susquehanna, Wayne, Lackawanna and Luzerne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania before joining the Susquehanna River.

The other finalists for the prestigious River of the Year award were Brandywine Creek, which flows through Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania; Buffalo Creek, which flows through Armstrong and Butler counties; Connoquenessing Creek, which flows through Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties; and the Ohio River flows through Allegheny and Beaver counties in Pennsylvania, and the state of West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

For more information on the Lackawanna River and teh River of the Year award, click here.

PHMC Accepting Applications for Keystone Historic Preservation Grants

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) is now accepting applications from non-profit organizations and local governments for the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program. 

Grants support projects that identify, preserve, promote and protect historic and archaeological resources in Pennsylvania for both the benefit of the public and community revitalization. The grants receive funding from the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund. A total of $2.65 million has been set aside for this program.

Two categories of grants – project and construction – are available for historic resources in Pennsylvania listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places. Applicants may apply for only one type of grant.

Project grants are available for planning and development initiatives that enhance historic preservation in communities. Project grant applications may include municipal planning initiatives focusing on historic resources or may be used to meet building - or project - specific planning goals. Keystone Historic Preservation Project Grants are available between $5,000 and $25,000 and require a 50/50 cash match.

Construction grants are available for rehabilitation, preservation and restoration activities for historic resources that are publicly accessible and under non-profit or local government ownership. Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grants are available between $5,000 and $100,000 and require a 50/50 cash match.

Applications are due March 2, 2020.  For more information on this grant program and how to apply, visit

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Offices to Serve You


District Office
Oppenheim Building
409 Lackawanna Ave., Ste. 210
Scranton, PA 18503
Phone: (570) 207-2881
Fax: (570) 207-2897
Toll free: 1-877-346-5721
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Harrisburg Office
Room 17 East Wing
The State Capitol
Senate Box 203022
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3022
Phone: (717) 787-6481
Fax: (717) 783-5198
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sen. Blake discusses Poverty Listening Tour stop in Scranton