Treasurer Stacy Garrity Encourages Pennsylvanians to Apply for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

Treasurer Stacy Garrity today encouraged eligible Pennsylvanians to apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for this year’s rebate as soon as possible, noting that the Pennsylvania Treasury Department will begin sending rebates to approved applicants on July 1.

“Many more Pennsylvanians are eligible for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program this year because the General Assembly and the Governor made the smart decision to expand the program,” Treasurer Garrity said. “I encourage everyone who’s eligible to apply as soon as possible. Treasury will start making payments on July 1, which is the earliest we’re able to under the law – and we’ll continue making payments on a rolling basis after that. This essential program makes a huge difference for so many, including older Pennsylvanians and those living with disabilities, and I’m committed to getting these payments out as quickly as possible once applicants are approved by the Department of Revenue.”

The new law increased household income limits for rebates to $45,000 for homeowners and renters (up from $35,000 and $15,000, respectively). Claimants may exclude half of their Social Security income. The maximum standard rebate is now $1,000 (up from $650).

Treasurer Garrity especially encouraged first-time applicants to apply as soon as possible because the Department of Revenue has indicated they will need more time to verify new applicant information as part of their efforts to combat program fraud.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older. Some homeowners may qualify for supplemental rebates. The deadline to apply for this year’s rebate is June 30, 2024.

As part of last year’s program expansion, beginning in 2025, the income limits will be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI). That calculation will be done by the Secretary of Revenue.

Since the program’s inception in 1971, more than $8 billion in rebates have been paid.

Geisinger to Start Assessment across Pennsylvania

On Wednesday, March 1, Geisinger, in collaboration with other regional hospital systems, will start the triennial Community Health Needs Assessment to identify challenges and solutions to local health-based topics.
As in prior Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs), Geisinger will partner with Evangelical Community Hospital and Allied Services Integrated Health System on the assessment. Partnership among regional organizations allow for a better understanding of health needs across the communities served and encourages collaboration to address the identified needs.
“The CHNA provides us with a snapshot of key health challenges affecting our communities,” said Matt Walsh, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Geisinger. “It leverages information from a variety of reliable resources — Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Anne E. Casey Foundation, U.S. Census, for example — and marries it with information from people in our community. It informs our strategy and helps us identify what we can do to improve our communities. Finally, the CHNA assists other organizations who can provide additional services to our area.”
The assessment will be conducted by Community Research Consulting, a woman-owned business based in Lancaster, Pa. that partners with healthcare providers, social service agencies, foundations, government entities and other community organizations to build vibrant, healthier, and sustainable communities by addressing community health, housing, socioeconomic disparities, capacity building, population health management, and other similar challenges.
Nonprofit hospital organizations are required to conduct a CHNA every three years and develop implementation strategies that address the identified health needs. These reports identify needs through data collection and analysis. The CHNA expands the hospital’s focus to include health issues impacting the greater community and promotes collaboration among local advocates, partners and hospitals.

This upcoming CHNA will be conducted throughout 2023 and will cover Jan. 1, 2024, through Dec. 31, 2026. The region’s current CHNA runs through Dec. 31, 2023.

Made Famous by The Office, Pennsylvania Paper & Supply celebrates its 100th Anniversary

Company’s iconic red brick tower is the opening shot of The Office intro

Every episode of The Office opens with the red brick  tower of Pennsylvania Paper & Supply (PPS), a Scranton institution and family business celebrating its 100th anniversary on Friday, May 20, with a ribbon‐cutting ceremony to symbolize the opening of a new century of serving its customers.

“My grandfather Jacob Fink and my dad Jerry Fink would be proud to see how much their company has grown over the last 100 years and surprised to learn that our building is a landmark known around the world,” said Douglas Fink, Pennsylvania Paper & Supply President. “A young John Krasinski took that opening shot of our tower in 2004 when he was doing research for The Office and for his role as Jim Halpert in the fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin.”

“Almost two decades later, fans from around the world still show up daily looking for the real Dunder Mifflin, but we’re not the colorful oddballs of The Office; we’re a team of 300 professionals steeped in 100 years of history,” he added.

The PPS story began in 1922 when Jacob Fink opened a business selling paper bags to Scranton’s grocers. Built on his core principles of listening to the customers, filling their needs, and doing it better than anyone else, PPS expanded its product line beyond paper to include janitorial and sanitation supplies. It also broadened its territory beyond eastern Pennsylvania into New York and New Jersey and now services everywhere in the country through e‐commerce. Matching the longevity of the company is the loyalty of its clients, some of which have been customers since the firm’s earliest days.

As the company grew it moved several times before opening its Scranton Showroom & Warehouse under the iconic tower almost 55 years ago, a fitting site for its 100th anniversary celebration and ribbon‐cutting.

“Since our founding, Pennsylvania Paper & Supply has strived to uphold our core values set by my grandfather Jacob—to serve our community, employees, and marketplace with excellence. We look forward to building on this legacy as a way forward for the next one hundred years,” said Fink.

OSHA’S Vaccine and Testing Standards for Employers

Businesses with 100 employees or more must comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). To meet the requirements of the ETS, employers must either:

  1. Establish a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, OR
  2. Adopt a policy requiring employees to get vaccinated or have them get regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work instead of getting vaccinated.

As a trusted voice in the business community, please share this information with as many employers as possible to help them understand and meet this federal requirement.

Federal Guidance

On Dec. 18, 2021, OSHA released new guidance for the ETS after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on the standard.

OSHA will not enforce any requirements under the ETS until Jan. 10, 2022. Additionally, the agency will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before Feb. 9, 2022, so long as an employer is exercising responsible, good faith efforts to meet the standard. Federal guidance states that employers can mandate vaccinations for staff. To support vaccinations, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) will continue to oversee a Commonwealth-wide vaccination program, and employers are invited to refer any staff seeking vaccination to one of the hundreds of Pennsylvania clinics providing vaccines.

Readiness Guide for Pennsylvania Employers

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has prepared a Readiness Guide for Pennsylvania Employers about the OSHA ETS. In the guide you will find detailed information about:

  • Vaccinating employees
  • Testing employees
  • Support from the PA Department of Health
  • List of U.S. employers with vaccine mandates
  • Information on differences in NAAT and Antigen Tests


If you have questions related to the OSHA ETS on COVID-19 vaccination and testing, visit the OSHA website or reference the Frequently Asked Questions.

PennDOT Honors Star of Excellence Recipients

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian recognized 32 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition.  Two employees from PennDOT’s District 4-0 which represents Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties were among the honorees.

“These employees represent the incredible people on the PennDOT team,” Gramian said. “With a focus on innovation, customer service, mobility and connectivity, they work tirelessly each day to provide safe and efficient transportation for Pennsylvania’s residents.”

Gramian and other department executives honored winners Lonell Shalkowski and Dawn Kidder during a virtual ceremony.

“Both Loni and Dawn have truly excelled in their service to the travelling public in northeast Pennsylvania.  They are both stars within our organization and work at a very high level everyday” said Richard Roman, District Executive for PennDOT Engineering District 4, based in Dunmore.

Loni has been the lead of the District Maintenance Permit Task Force since 2019. The District Maintenance Permit Task Force is a district-wide initiative where a group of engineers focus on the design and submission of maintenance permits to reduce the District’s priority bridge items.

The success of the District Maintenance Permit Task Force requires open, proactive communications between the Design, Construction and Maintenance Divisions to ensure priority bridge items are addressed in a cost-effective and timely manner. This success is also bolstered by the rapport Loni has built with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to expedite the review and approvals for priority item permits.

Loni’s leadership in setting priorities and giving direction to the team members has increased the level of service to the county bridge/maintenance forces and has improved the communication between the District Office and County Managers.

Dawn is a Roadway Programs Manager in the Maintenance Division for Engineering District 4-0. Dawn’s work ethic and dedication to getting the job done truly sets her apart and makes her a valuable asset to the Department. She is hard working, dependable, and dedicated to the Department. Dawn creates a positive work environment where teamwork is encouraged and valued. She is a true leader and an outstanding co-worker.

Dawn filled the void created when Wayne County’s Roadway Programs Coordinator (RPC) retired and kept the county moving forward.

Dawn is the embodiment of ideal customer service and an exemplary representative of PennDOT. When dealing with difficult situations Dawn always stays calm. Even with all the extra duties Dawn has taken on, she never waivers and always delivers information on time and accurately. She is a role model to all and leads by example. She is an asset to the Department.

The Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent the department’s values of service, performance, and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, to traffic control specialists, communications staff and design and engineering specialists.

For more information on PennDOT activities in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming visit 

PA Department of Health Mask Order Reflects Latest CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam announced that the commonwealth’s mask order reflects the announcement made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier today.

On March 16, 2021, the SOH amended the commonwealth’s mask order by adding language directing to the CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people allow for no face coverings. That means that today’s CDC guidelines automatically go into effect in Pennsylvania. Masking requirement will still be in place as otherwise provided under the CDC guidance and for unvaccinated individuals until 70 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

“Today’s guidance from the CDC affects only people who are fully vaccinated” Acting Secretary Beam said. “This is another incentive to get the vaccine that is now easily and conveniently available. Once 70 percent of Pennsylvanians over 18 are fully vaccinated, we can completely lift the masking order.”

The CDC today provided guidance that fully vaccinated individuals can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing except where required by law, rule, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. Under the guidance, individuals are still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. In addition, all individuals will still need to follow guidance at workplaces and local businesses.

For more information on the CDC guidance,
visit here.

People can find vaccination locations near them using, also known as Vaccine Finder. Individuals also can text their zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English, or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish and receive three possible vaccination sites in their area.