In the upcoming fiscal year, the federal government has requested that Pennsylvania pay several million dollars annually to account for reductions in federal rail subsidies. The Corbett administration has successfully negotiated a multi-million dollar annual payment to preserve Amtrak service between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Now, the legislature has the final say over western PA’s passenger rail service as lawmakers discuss transportation-funding packages. With an overabundance of infrastructure needs, tax dollars should not be wasted on a fledgling rail line when there are better travel route alternatives. Continue reading
Senate Democratic Appropriations Chair Vincent Hughes derailed Governor Corbett’s budget address as a fiscal plan that takes Pennsylvania in the wrong direction. Senator Hughes asserts that the budget awards the Governor and his “wealthy friends” tax breaks and only offers working people a proposal to “put booze on every block in every community.” This rhetoric grossly mischaracterizes privatization efforts and the serious issue of liquor control and public safety. Continue reading
After a failed attempt during the prior session to privatize Pennsylvania’s state wine and liquor stores, Governor Corbett has unveiled his own plan to move government out of the booze business. Pennsylvania is one of only two remaining states to maintain a government monopoly over wholesale and retail sales of both wine and spirits. The Governor’s plan will transform this prohibition-era system into one of greater consumer choice and convenience while also providing a critical investment opportunity for public education.
I would like to commend the 38 state house members that presented a unified voice in opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision.
Even without this expansion, Medicaid costs are unsustainable. Over the last decade, program spending increased more than 80 percent, nearly twice as much as personal income. Medicaid now consumes 30 percent of Pennsylvania’s total state operating budget and is projected to grow for years to come. Continue reading
During the past legislative session, Governor Corbett and Republican lawmakers repudiated the tax and spend policies of the previous administration which in turn, chartered a new course towards fiscal responsibility. Expanding upon the successes of the last two years, a group of State House members have introduced legislation to end the commonwealth’s compulsory unionism. Right-to-work labor reform is critical to giving workers choice as to whether or not they wish to join a union while providing a much needed boost for the state’s economy.
As the General Assembly reconvenes for a new session, the Senate Finance Committee scheduled a hearing on the proposal to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery.
A Legislative Budget and Finance Committee report released in February 2012 revealed that the state’s aging population will demand more in services than lottery revenue growth. Rather than cut critical programs or raise taxes on working Pennsylvanians, the administration has sought private experts as a means to boost essential revenues. Continue reading
As mandated by the Pennsylvania Constitution, lawmakers took their oath of office on the first Tuesday in January which fell on New Years Day 2013. In addition to the swearing in of 32 new members to the House and Senate, each chamber passed their operating rules and elected their presiding officers.