|The latest news from the State Capitol
Previewing the 2018-19 Budget
On Thursday, my colleagues of the Common Sense Caucus (CSC), a group of 18 rank-and-file Republican members from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and I held a press conference to call on negotiators to manage spending increases to no more than rate of inflation, assure spending does not exceed actual revenues, and to hold the line on taxes.
CSC members plan to be engaged in the budget process by being active in committee, speaking with other members individually, and pushing for legislative budget solutions.
To watch the full press conference, click here.
Governor to Present Budget Proposal
On Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf will give his fourth budget address. I am very interested to hear what the governor will present to this joint session of the Legislature. I am looking forward to examining the governor’s proposal and reining in spending.
You can watch the governor’s budget address live starting at 11 a.m. on Tuesday by clicking here.
Addressing the Size of the Legislature
As I discussed last week, there is legislation in the General Assembly to address the size and scope of the state Legislature. The bills range from decreasing the number of seats to making the General Assembly a part-time body.
While I will support both initiatives, I firmly believe making the General Assembly part-time is the best option for Pennsylvanians. A part-time legislature would not only provide more fair representation, but it would yield significantly greater savings for taxpayers as well. This is why I am a co-sponsor of Rep. Paul Schemel’s (R-Franklin County) bill that would shift my job to part-time. Since this plan would amend the state Constitution, it would have to pass both chambers in two consecutive sessions and would have to be approved by the voters. I implore voters to look at these proposals closely to gain a better understanding of their consequences. I understand there is a strong movement to decrease the number of legislators, but Pennsylvania is quite large, geographically, and once the number of seats are reduced, those in more rural areas will be forced to make more extensive efforts to access their representative than those in more urban areas. Additionally, the savings gained from the reduction of 50 House seats will pale in comparison to those savings that could be realized from a part-time legislature.
Ending Human Trafficking
To raise awareness of the barbaric practice of human trafficking, I joined colleagues on the floor of the House in support of House Resolution 641 to mark January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Victims of this modern-day slavery are used for sexual exploitation or for labor. It is a $32 billion global industry and one of the fastest growing criminal activities in the world. Cases happen everywhere, including right here in York County.
In addition to the resolution, House Bill 2029 was recently introduced to increase penalties to those convicted of human trafficking and other human trafficking-related crimes. It would also give law enforcement more tools to combat this heinous crime.
Where’s Pennsylvania’s Economic Growth?
Thanks to the York Daily Record for publishing my column on Pennsylvania’s Economic Growth.
Frustrated by last year’s budget stalemate, a group of rank-and-file Republican House members came together to get a more comprehensive understanding of the Commonwealth’s finances. We found an absence of a budget mission, compounded by a lack of accountability, and an unwillingness to prioritize spending, to be at the root of Pennsylvania’s budget failings. Committed to offering more than just a condemnation of the budget plans offered, we dedicated our summer to developing a budget funding plan that was mindful of economic growth and didn’t include increased taxes or borrowing. Our group worked tirelessly on the issues that contributed to the budget failures, and we evolved beyond the initial budget challenge, determined to set a course of economic growth for Pennsylvania.
To read the full column, click here.
Helping Our Veterans
Veterans can come to my district office, located at 12 N. Baltimore St. in Dillsburg, to receive assistance navigating the VA benefits system. A representative from the American Legion will be in the office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month.
Areas in which the representative can help include:
Appointments must be made in advance. Veterans do not have to be members of the American Legion to receive assistance.
- Compensation and pension claims
- Education benefits
- Enrollment in the VA health care system
- Burial and survivor benefits
- State benefits
- Military personnel and medical records
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call my office at (717) 432-0792.