Nov. 19, 2018

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Unneeded Veto Will Continue to Cost Taxpayers

As you may now, the Gov. Tom Wolf recently vetoed House Bill 83 because he believes it restricts the state’s flexibility to restructure outstanding debt to reduce future liabilities for citizens of the Commonwealth. However, in reality, the legislation would have accelerated the retirement of the state’s general obligation debt and decreased the amount of interest. It would have also required new issuances of state debt to be repaid in equal amounts over the usual 20-year term of the bond.

Since 2001, the Commonwealth has been using the Level Annual Debt Service payment methodology. While the short-lived benefit of this method smaller initial debt repayments, the expensive payments in the latter years of this type of financial agreement costs taxpayers more in interest payments and challenges future state budgets.

Prior to 2001, Pennsylvania used the Equal Annual Maturities Plan or Level Annual Principal method to retire debt. Under this method of debt repayment, principal payments were made in equal amounts over the life of the debt. While the debt service is higher in the initial years, the annual debt service in years 10 through 20 is lower than the current Level Annual Debt Service method.

There are two major benefits to repaying debt using the Level Annual Principal method:
  • The principal is paid down faster, which means the Commonwealth’s overall debt obligation is paid off sooner.
  • The interest paid over the course of the repayment period is substantially lower.
Requiring the Commonwealth to use the more responsible Equal Annual Maturities Plan method on all new debt obligations incurred under the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act would have reduced the debt we pass onto future generations and end one of the “buy it now, pay for it (much) later” policies that have been killing Pennsylvania’s credit rating for years.
Honoring Fairview Township Firefighters

It was my privilege to honor Fairview Township firefighters during the department’s annual recognition banquet. These brave first responders put their lives on the line each time they answer the call for help. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do!
$3.5 Million for Volunteer Firefighters in York, Cumberland Counties

Nearly $2 million in state funding has been released to York County and $1.5 million to Cumberland County to help volunteer fire departments’ relief associations provide training and to purchase equipment.

As part of the 2018 allocation, 2,518 municipalities across the state received $55.1 million in fire relief association funding for distribution to the volunteer firefighters’ relief associations providing fire services to their communities.

The volunteer firefighters’ relief association funding comes from a 2 percent state tax on fire insurance premiums purchased by Pennsylvania residents from out-of-state casualty insurance companies.
Happy Thanksgiving!

For nearly four centuries, Americans have come together in the spirit of thanksgiving. From the earliest traditions that began in Plymouth, Mass., to the first official national observance in 1863, families have gathered in November to celebrate bountiful harvests and all that has been given to them.

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 22, state offices will be closed on Thursday, and my office will also be closed on Friday, Nov. 23. PennDOT Driver License Centers will also be closed Nov. 22 and 23. If you are traveling, be sure to check for the latest traffic and weather information.

From my family to yours, may you all have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.
Supporting Small Businesses

With small businesses as the economic engines of the 92nd District and the Commonwealth, I want to remind residents that Small Business Saturday is Nov. 24.

According to the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center, there are nearly 1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania, which employ nearly half of the state’s workforce. Small firms make up 98.2 percent of the state’s employers.

During the last session, House Republicans worked to enhance opportunities for small businesses and job creators in Pennsylvania by modernizing business laws, seeking to reduce burdensome and duplicative regulations, and fighting off harmful and unnecessary tax increases.

One of those measures, which is designed to help budding entrepreneurs, is the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop website, which was based on legislation initiated in the House. It seeks to assist entrepreneurs and businesses at all stages of development. It was launched earlier in 2018.
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