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Wolf’s Tax Proposal Draws Unanimous Opposition
In numerous public appearances throughout the state,
Governor Wolf and members of his Administration have repeatedly demanded
that legislators consider his budget plan as a whole, rather than
criticize its individual parts. My colleagues in the House of
Representatives recently honored the governor’s wishes by putting his
tax and spending proposal up for a vote. The result was unanimous –
193-0 in opposition to the Wolf budget. The bipartisan rebuke of the
governor’s budget is a strong sign that we must consider other, more
For months, lawmakers have been telling Governor Wolf there
was little support for the idea of adding billions upon billions in new
spending and taxes. The governor is fond of extolling the virtues of his new
government spending, but he is loath to discuss how he would pay for it.
There is very little support in the legislature and in the public at large
for a proposal that would add $12 billion in new taxes over the next two
years and increase the tax burden on families in every income class in
As the Senate prepares to create its own version of the
state budget in the near future, I am hopeful the Administration will
realize that its proposal to accelerate the unchecked growth in state
spending and tax rates is a doomed approach. Pennsylvanians deserve a budget
that funds core government services at the lowest possible cost to
taxpayers, and that means addressing the major cost-drivers in the budget,
including public employee pensions. Producing a fiscally responsible and
sustainable spending plan will be my priority as budget negotiations
|I enjoyed hearing from numerous local businesses at the PA Energy
Industry Conference at Shady Maple in East Earl last week. The conference
focused on the impact of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania.
Committees Examine Severance Tax Proposal
This week, I joined members of the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate
Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for a joint hearing to examine
the governor’s proposal to levy a severance tax on natural gas drilling in
the Marcellus Shale region. The hearing invited a wide range of
perspectives, including financial estimates on the proposed tax rates and
testimony from environmental and industry experts.
The hearing showed a deep divide in opinions regarding taxation of the
industry and highlighted some of the problems with the governor’s proposal.
Natural gas companies already pay the same taxes as other corporations, as
well as an additional impact fee enacted in 2012. Governor Wolf’s proposed
severance tax would give Pennsylvania one of the highest natural gas tax
rates in the country at a time when natural gas prices are extremely low.
The economic impact of the severance tax proposal is an important
consideration as we debate the merits of the governor’s plan. Video of the
hearing is available
I was extremely pleased to welcome some of the local school groups who
have visited the Capitol in the past two weeks. In addition to joining
Centerville students for this photo, I also enjoyed meeting students from
Denver Elementary, Rohrerstown Elementary and Highland Elementary recently.
Capitol Rally Promotes Program for Disabled Pennsylvanians
It was an honor to be invited to speak recently at a rally
highlighting the importance of the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Fund (PATF).
The program provides information, assistance and financial education for
state residents with disabilities.
In the past 18 months, PATF has extended 17 loans to
Lancaster County residents with disabilities for devices such as hearing
aids, adapted vehicles, stair lifts, power wheelchair batteries and home
modifications. In total, the program has provided information and assistance
to 860 people in the past year and helped leverage more than $1 million in
grants funding for disabled individuals.
You can hear my remarks during the rally
I appreciated the opportunity to speak about the importance
of PATF. The program helps Pennsylvanians with disabilities enjoy a better
quality of life and participate in the workforce and the community as a
Photos of Vietnam Veterans Sought for Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund recently launched the Faces Never Forgotten campaign to collect a photograph for each of the more than 58,000 men and women whose names are inscribed on The Wall. A list of Pennsylvania service members whose photos are needed is available here .
Insurance Department Offers Vacation Preparation Tips
As the school year
draws to a close in districts across the region, many families are looking
forward to summer vacations. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department recently
offered a number of tips regarding insurance coverage before leaving on
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover personal property like clothing and
electronics, even if they are lost, stolen, or destroyed during a vacation. It
is important for consumers to consult their policy to make sure you know the
maximum amount it will cover before deciding which items to take on a trip.
In addition to double-checking homeowner’s policies, consumers are encouraged
to consult their health insurance policy and be aware of whether there are
in-network healthcare options at their destination. Coverage in some policies
may not extend to other countries, in which case a travel insurance policy may
be needed to help fill network gaps.
Senate Box 203036
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3036
FAX (717) 783-3156
TTY (800) 364-1581
301 East Main Street
Lititz, PA 17543
FAX (717) 627-1389