Acting Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich along with Deputy Secretary Steven Horner, and PACE Program Director Tom Sneddon testified before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on how the department is going to control costs for seniors and the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania continues to face budgetary challenges given the significant growth in the elderly population and the contraction in the working -age population.
• House Republicans have concerns with proposed changes to the Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program.
o The increase wouldn’t take full effect until FY 2024-25, which means seniors will see less money in the upcoming budget year after a temporary increase in the current fiscal year.
o This will lead to confusion for seniors who have already begun filing their PTRR rebate return for rebates to be issued in July 2023, as the proposed increase would only begin July 1, 2024.
o The proposal transfers monies from the Gaming Fund to the Lottery Fund to pay for the PTRR increased rebates; thereby reducing property tax relief already received by homeowners.
• House Republicans believe the department should ensure the Area Agencies on Aging are working with seniors to help them better prepare for their long-term care needs in an effort to reduce reliance on Medicaid.
• Governor Shapiro is also projecting deficit spending in the Lottery Fund as evidenced by his anticipated $192.8 million ending balance for FY 2022-23 being reduced to only $37.6 million over the next five fiscal years.
Rep. Struzzi asks the Department of Aging why changes to the Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program were in the governor’s budget address yet increased rebates won’t go into effect until July of 2024.
Rep. Ecker questions the Department of Aging on what they are doing to address the IFO report regarding the percentage of substantiated claims by Area Agencies on Aging investigating reports of elder abuse and neglect.
Watch the full hearing