Apr. 07, 2017

No-Tax-Increase Budget Moves Ahead in House

Governor Wolf proposed a $32.34 billion budget in which he claimed to cut $2 billion. The current year’s budget is $31.53 billion. It was hard to understand how a proposal to increase spending by more than $800 million was actually a cut… so the House went to work to craft a real budget which actually prioritizes spending.

This week, the House approved a $31.52 billion budget proposal that does not increase taxes or borrowing but does invest in education, public safety, human services and infrastructure.

This budget does not mortgage our future, but places priorities on core government functions, especially quality education for our children.

House Bill 218 reflects a collective need to reinvent the way Pennsylvania budgets and governs, by:
- moving ahead to streamline programs and services;
- eliminate duplicative state functions;
- reduce bureaucracy; and
- create an endowment fund that will generate money to pay future costs.

While the House budget reflects Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to merge several state agencies, it differentiates by not raising $1 billion in taxes on hard-working Pennsylvania families or borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to spend today and pay back over 20 or so years.

The House Budget also cuts actual spending – it spends LESS than the current budget, and $815 million less than Gov. Wolf’s proposal. See the budget chart here.

The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Additional details about the proposal are available here.
House Approves Debt Reform and Reduction Measure

A measure aimed at reducing Pennsylvania’s debt burden passed the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

House Republicans have been leading the charge to reduce the indebtedness of our Commonwealth, which burdens future generations of taxpayers.

House Bill 785 would lower the debt ceiling of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) by a total of $500 million over a 10-year period. The bill would impose limits on new project releases for RACP at $125 million and Public Improvement Project (PIP) at $350 million annually. Lastly, this legislation would require new debt issued to use equal annual maturities repayment, also known as level principal payment.

We need to get these reforms and reductions to the governor’s desk to continue the progress we have made over the last several years.
House OKs Bill to Get Tougher on Criminals

To ensure criminals are appropriately sentenced, the House passed House Bill 741 to address constitutional issues with Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws cited by the state Supreme Court in 2015.

The bill would allow for mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers, trafficking drugs to minors and for selling drugs in drug-free school zones. Other crimes affected include offenses committed with firearms, on public transportation, against the elderly or infants, or while impersonating a law enforcement officer.

Mandatory sentences have proven to be a necessary tool to ensure that people committing serious drug and gun crimes are held accountable for their actions.

The bill now goes to the state Senate.
Town Forum on Opioid Crisis April 11

Local government leaders, school officials and the public are invited to learn about the opioid crisis on Tuesday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) North.

In Pennsylvanian, at least 10 people die every day from some type of a drug overdose, with over 3,500 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2015 alone. This is more than the number of people who died in Pennsylvania car crashes. Of those, an average of seven people died every day in Pennsylvania from an opioid overdose in 2014 and even a higher number in 2015.

Your attendance is essential because we need to gain more knowledge on this crucial subject. The forum is sponsored by the Town of McCandless in partnership with the North Allegheny School District, the CCAC North and the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office H.O.P.E. (Heroin Outreach Prevention and Education).

The event will also include a drug takeback, where you can drop off old and expired prescription drugs. CCAC North is located at 8701 Perry Highway in Pittsburgh.
A Special Anniversary


This week at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, I was honored to stand with VFW members who supported House Resolution 145, recognizing the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War 1.

Pictured with me are (from left) Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D-Delaware); Thomas Brown, Pennsylvania state commander; Harry Seth, commander of Post 94, Delaware County; John Getz, adjutant quartermaster; and Carl Olshefskie, department commander.