May. 05, 2017

Gov. Wolf’s Tech Tax is a Job Killer

 
Pennsylvania is a good place for business: The industrial supply chain is deep and strong, the workforce is diverse, and the area has been voted the most livable in the nation. We still have work to do as we compete with other states for good, family sustaining jobs. With the right policies, I am optimistic about our future.

That is why I remain perplexed that Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $330 million tax on computer services. The “tech tax” is a broad tax on all computer services, specifically:

  • Data processing, hosting and related services.
  • Custom computer programming services.
  • Computer facilities management services.
The governor’s proposal for a tech tax is not new. A similar tax was adopted in 1991 under Gov. Robert Casey, but was repealed in 1997 under Gov. Tom Ridge. It was a job killer then, and it would be a job killer today.

According to the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s 2016 State of the Industry Report, technology and related companies in the 13-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania employ 302,535 individuals, comprising 24 percent of the area’s workforce. Their combined payroll is $22 billion annually, representing more than 35 percent of the region’s total wages, which is at a record high.

Many of us oppose Gov. Wolf’s tech tax, along with his other tax increase proposals. That is why the House passed a budget on April 4 that actually reduces spending from the current fiscal year.
 
 
School Choice for Everyone


Every child deserves a high-quality education and I am passionate about giving families real options for their children’s education.

This week, I visited Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh as the Bridge Educational Foundation, through the support of Braskem America, donated $30,000 of tuition scholarship funds to Oakland Catholic families. This is possible through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs, which I have helped to expand and will continue to do so.

My legislation, House Bill 250, would increase tax credits available under the EITC program by $50 million (raising it to $175 million) and the OSTC program by $25 million (raising it to $75 million). EITC and OSTC programs help public school students as well.

These programs are critical components of our education system in Pennsylvania. Allowing education choices ensures students of all backgrounds can have access to a quality education. I am grateful to EITC ambassadors, like Bridge Educational Foundation, which continues expanding educational opportunities for Pennsylvanians.

The Bridge Educational Foundation is one of the largest scholarship organizations, raising more than $25 million to provide educational opportunities for more than 15,000 low-income families statewide. 

 

This week at Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Bridge Educational Foundation donated $30,000 of tuition scholarship funds to Oakland Catholic families. My legislation to increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs is paying significant dividends for Pennsylvania’s students.
 
 
Celebrating National Charter Schools Week
 

 

This week, I visited City Charter High School in Pittsburgh to help celebrate the role that high-quality public charter schools play in Pennsylvania. I took a tour of the school and engaged in a roundtable discussion with faculty, staff and students. It was a great learning experience and the dialogue was outstanding.

Members of the post-high school planning team shared their roles in preparing students for their required internship and post-graduation goals which can include two-year and four-year colleges, military service, apprenticeships or employment.

We need great public schools, but we also need to support other options including charters, opportunity scholarships and vo-tech education.

City Charter High School’s enrollment is 610 students and boasts a 95 percent graduation rate.
   
 
Bush Creek Trail Opens in Marshall Township


 

You can enjoy the great outdoors in our area by visiting the Brush Creek Trail in Marshall Township. It was my pleasure to be part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open this beautiful land.

The public will now be able to enjoy the improvements on the Brush Creek Trail now that the effort to create an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) walking trail has been completed.

The 1.3 mile trail will provide residents of Cranberry Township, Marshall Township and business employees of the RIDC Industrial a safe place to walk. This project connects Cranberry Township, Butler County, with Marshall Township.

Funding for this project was provided by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through a Community Conservation Partnership Program grant and support from my office.
 
 
Recycle Rama and Community Shred Saturday


 
I urge all my constituents in the 28th Legislative District to start the summer with a clean house. Donate unwanted items and improve the lives of others. A number of household items, including clothing, batteries, furniture, and electronics, will be accepted, either to be reused or recycled. Several community partners are joining this event so that residents can drop off a wide variety of items.

Click here for more information, including the list of local partners, available services and acceptable items.

No paint, household chemicals and television monitors will be accepted.

The Township of Pine Municipal Building is located at 230 Pearce Mill Road in Wexford.
 
 
Go Fishing with the Family!


To help share the love of fishing with families, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has scheduled several opportunities in May and June for families to learn fishing skills.

The six events – three in May and three in June – will lead up to the two statewide Fish-for-Free Days – the Sunday before Memorial Day, May 28, and Independence Day, July 4. Each of the state’s six regions will host an event. For the list, click here

The program is open to all ages, including children ages 5 and older, and the PFBC provides equipment, bait and tackle. PFBC staff will be present to teach skills and assist those who fish.

Preregistration is required. Space is limited, and there will be no registrations accepted the day of the events.
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