In this update:
Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal sets state up for future failure with massive spending on recurring costs
On Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his eighth and final state budget proposal before a joint session of the General Assembly.
His budget proposes to spend $45.7 billion in the upcoming fiscal year for 2022-23. This represents an increase of 10.9% in spending from the current year. Keep in mind that the Biden Administration reported inflation at 7.5%, which is a 40-year high.
According to Senate Appropriations Committee budget projections, the governor’s plan will produce a $1.3 billion deficit for the 2023-24 fiscal year and create an even bigger bill for Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay long after the governor leaves office: a $13 billion deficit by 2026-27.
Unfortunately, current and future taxpayers will suffer the consequences of the fiscal irresponsibility included in this proposed budget from the governor.
With sky-high inflation due to the federal government’s rampant spending, Pennsylvania does not have the benefit of printing money like politicians in Washington. This budget will need to be balanced on the backs of the hardworking taxpayers. The governor’s budget proposal follows the federal government’s playbook – spend today and make it someone else’s problem tomorrow. It is unsustainable and disingenuous to the people who pay our bills. We can and must do better.
As a member of this committee, we will thoroughly review this proposal and offer solutions that put Pennsylvania’s current (and future) taxpayers in better fiscal footing.
Senate approves legislation to boost aid to our first responders
Building on a promise to provide Pennsylvania’s frontline heroes with relief, the Senate approved legislation to provide $25 million in federal funding to support EMS providers.
Since January, the General Assembly has advanced measures totaling $250 million for frontline workers, health care providers, emergency services and EMTs.
The measure also would ensure that all fire companies – whether volunteer, paid or combination department – are eligible for the low-interest loans through the Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Loan Program. Voters approved expanding the program in a 2021 ballot question.
Thank you to local religious leaders for serving as Senate of PA Guest Chaplains
This week, I was honored to host two of the three Guest Chaplains for the Senate of Pennsylvania.
On Monday, Pastor Brandon Grady of the Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville served as the guest chaplain of the Senate of Pennsylvania.
You can watch his opening prayer here.
Pastor Jesse North of Wrightsville Presbyterian Church served as the guest chaplain of the Senate of Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
You can watch his opening prayer here.
Updated agritourism guide available for local farmers
Agritourism activities – like corn mazes, hayrides, on-site dining/retail operations and educational programs – are a growing part of Pennsylvania’s agriculture economy.
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania has an updated 128-page handbook to help farmers navigate agritourism issues.
Last year, the General Assembly approved a new law, which I sponsored in the Senate, to better protect farmers who offer these kinds of agritourism activities.
Commemorating the Four Chaplains Day in Pennsylvania
I recently offered the resolution commemorating Feb. 3 as “Four Chaplains Day” in Pennsylvania.
The Four Chaplains Memorial of York County hosts a breakfast each year. This annual event started on the 50th anniversary of the death of the Four Chaplains, who sacrificed their lives so that others would live when the troop ship Dorchester was torpedoed and sank on Feb. 3, 1943.
This spring marks the 30TH anniversary of the Four Chaplains Breakfast.
Grants available to help reduce underage and dangerous drinking
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is accepting applications for grants to fund programs that discourage and reduce underage and dangerous drinking and promote a message of responsible alcohol consumption by those of legal drinking age.
Eligible grant applicants include school districts and institutions of higher education (including technical, trade and post-secondary establishments), community organizations, municipal police departments, municipal officials/representatives and nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
The deadline to apply for grants is March 18. Applications and guidelines for submission are available on the PLCB website.
Meeting Garrett Kilgore, a Kennard-Dale High School grad and current junior at Millersville
It was an honor to meet Millersville University junior and York County native, Garrett Kilgore, on Tuesday. Garrett was shadowing the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the day. Garrett is a graduate of Kennard-Dale High School. He stopped by during a busy day in the Capitol to say hello and I look forward to hosting Garrett for a day on the hill as a shadow soon!
Public hearing focuses on Chronic Wasting Disease
The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, of which I am the vice chair, held a joint public hearing on Wednesday with the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee on the issue of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
CWD continues to hamper the Commonwealth’s deer population. The committees heard from representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Game Commission, as well as the National Deer Association and the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association.
Senate committees advance my bills addressing Property Tax/Rent Rebate loophole hurting retirees; DUI changes requested by our District Attorney and President Judge
The Senate Finance Committee and Senate Transportation Committee approved legislation I am working on to address concerns raised by our neighbors.
The Senate Finance Committee gave its unanimous support to legislation I am working on to address a loophole impacting retirees who apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Read more here.
The Senate Transportation Committee approved legislation I am working on with the chair of the committee, Sen. Wayne Langerholc, to update our state’s DUI laws to reflect recent court rulings. This legislation is at the request of York County’s District Attorney Dave Sunday. Read more here.
I am grateful the committees both found these bills to have merit and advance them for the people of York County!
Keystone Kidspace winter fun
I recently had the opportunity to visit and learn more about Keystone Kidspace, a place where kids can have fun while learning about science, technology, engineering, art, and math through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and unique classes.
FOX43 recently highlighted Keystone Kidspace as a great place for family friendly winter fun, which you can watch here!
After suggesting every transaction $600 or more be flagged, IRS wants facial recognition information
After working with Sen. Camera Bartolotta on a resolution calling on Congress to block any effort by the Biden Administration and IRS from snooping into our personal bank accounts, there is an ongoing effort by the IRS to obtain facial recognition technology.
The IRS is notorious for mishandling sensitive tax information after suffering well-documented data breaches. Here is an op-ed reviewing how the IRS continues to dig through personal financial data.
Survey feedback on proposed constitutional amendments visualized
Thanks again to our neighbors who participated in my latest legislative survey. Here are the results based on the feedback I received from 689 of our neighbors.
Local job openings
PA CareerLink shared with me its latest list of local job openings, which you can view below. You can also find job postings shared with the York County Economic Alliance here.