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Senator Argall

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Toll Free: 1-877-327-4255

Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203029
171 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3029
717-783-8657 FAX


District Offices
One West Centre Street
P.O. Box 150
Mahanoy City, PA 17948
570-773-1675 FAX

100 North Centre Street
Pottsville, PA 17901
570-622-6629 FAX
(Shared with Representative Mike Tobash)

61 North Third Street
Hamburg, PA 19526-1501
610-562-6895 FAX
(Shared with Representative
Jerry Knowles)
237 West Broad Street
Tamaqua, PA 18252
570-952-3374 FAX
(Shared with Representative
Jerry Knowles)

Follow Sen. Argall on Twitter for Senate happenings – @SenatorArgall  

In this Email Update:

  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette criticizes “Governor No” for blocking initiatives to help taxpayers
  • Collaboration key to passing budget
  • Governor’s proposed budget would raise most taxes in U.S., study finds
  • Governor’s public pension reform veto shows governor stands with public sector union leaders, against taxpayers
  • Governor’s state budget veto puts school district building projects reimbursement on hold
  • Senate and House-passed budget reflects taxpayers’ priorities
  • Wipers on = headlights on – it’s the law
  • Four tips to mitigate flood loss
  • Do you have unclaimed property with Pa. Treasury? Find out!

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette criticizes “Governor No” for blocking initiatives to help taxpayers

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently criticized “Governor No” for blocking several reform measures that would help taxpayers. Take a moment to read their editorial here.

Collaboration key to passing budget

In a recent editorial in the Republican Herald supporting the governor’s budget proposal, the newspaper characterized the $370 million increase in education funding as a "token increase.” In the east end of Tamaqua where I grew up, $370 million would have never, ever been considered a “token increase.” Please take a moment to read my letter to the editor that appeared in the paper on Thursday.

In my letter, I write that the governor keeps asking Pennsylvanians to view his budget as a whole, including increased spending and increased taxes. In June, the House of Representatives considered his plan as a whole and unanimously defeated it by a vote of 193-0. Not one member, Republican or Democrat, supported his plan. The taxpayers simply cannot afford a plan that drastically increases spending at a rate greater than the last four governor’s first budget proposals combined, as noted here:

Governor’s proposed budget would raise most taxes in U.S., study finds

A recent study released by the National Association of State Budget Officers found that Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal’s tax increases are larger than all other states combined.

Read the report here.

The report also finds that Pennsylvania’s new spending would rank in the top three among all 50 states! If the governor got his wish for his tax-and-spend budget, Pennsylvania would be ranked third in new spending at $4.77 billion, compared to California at $5.31 billion and New York at $7.49 billion.

Governor’s public pension reform veto shows governor stands with public sector union leaders, against taxpayers

I’m extremely disappointed with the governor’s veto of public pension reform legislation that would save taxpayers more than $10 billion by addressing the number one cost-driver for school property taxes. Senate Bill 1 would protect the pension program for current employees and retirees while addressing future projected costs by enrolling all state legislators and all new state and school district employees into a 401-K style plan.

It’s clear to me that the governor’s campaign slogan ‘Government that Works’ means that any commonsense approach to the state’s budget that is supported by the taxpayer, but opposed by the public union leaders, is rejected by this governor. How is the state government supposed to work when he continues to veto important legislation, strongly supported by the public, at the request of his public employee union leader friends?

Over the last two weeks, he vetoed a long-requested bill to privatize our state liquor stores and an on-time, no-new-taxes balanced state budget which increased aid to our public schools.  On Thursday he vetoed the most important pension reform bill passed by the General Assembly in decades. How is that supporting “Government that Works?”

Like our counterparts in the private sector, our state government needs to make adjustments in our pension systems. If we do not adjust, we can look to Detroit’s bankruptcy to see what happens when you constantly maintain the status quo. We should learn from their example:  That’s bad news for both public employees and the taxpayer.

You can listen to my statement here.

WITF: Wolf coy on his pension position

Governor’s state budget veto puts school district building projects reimbursement on hold

Reimbursement for school construction projects is put on hold due to the governor’s recent veto, including 18 projects in the 29th Senatorial District.

Under the state’s Planning and Construction Workbook, otherwise known as PlanCon, school districts receive a portion of funding for new construction from the state.

The Senate and House-passed budget package included reimbursements for 547 school construction projects across Pennsylvania. The state owes $5.3 billion in reimbursements to school districts for construction projects.

Reimbursement for construction projects at the following school districts will be put on hold:

  • Blue Mountain School District
  • Conrad Weiser Area School District
  • Fleetwood Area School District
  • Hamburg Area School District
  • Hazleton Area School District (McAdoo)
  • Mahanoy Area School District
  • Minersville Area School District
  • Panther Valley School District
  • Saint Clair Area School District
  • Schuylkill Haven Area School District
  • Shenandoah Valley School District
  • Tri-Valley School District
  • Tulpehocken Area School District
  • Wilson School District

Read more here.

Republican Herald: Wolf’s veto puts hold on school funds

You can watch my reaction to the impact of the late budget when I spoke with WGAL-TV.

Senate and House-passed budget reflects taxpayers’ priorities

I recently submitted a column to the Reading Eagle about the Senate and ‪House-passed budget proposal which included the growing bipartisan support for school property tax reform. I finished the column by stating, “The people of Pennsylvania want meaningful property tax reform and controlled spending through our state budget. I am optimistic, with strong public support and growing legislative support, that we can agree that eliminating school property taxes should be a priority during the upcoming debate on finalizing our state budget. The message I've heard in Berks and Schuylkill County is this: “The sooner, the better!”

You can read the entire column here.

Wipers on = headlights on – it’s the law

Given the heavy rain and thunderstorms Berks and Schuylkill Counties have been facing so far this summer, it is important that motorists abide by Pennsylvania’s headlights and wiper law in order to ensure visibility and safe driving for not only themselves, but other drivers on the road.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted Act 159 of 2006, which amends various sections of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code (Title 75), including the requirements for the use of lighted headlamps and illuminating devices while driving.  Section 4302 of Act 159 of 2006 states that a motorist must activate their headlights anytime they are unable to see or notice a person or vehicle 1,000 feet away on a highway. Motorists are also required to use their headlights when the wipers on their vehicles are in continuous or intermittent use during periods of rain, snow or other conditions such as fog or mist.

Motorists have been required to follow the headlights and wiper law since January 2007. Failure to comply with this law could result in motorists receiving a $25 fine, as well as other fees and associated costs which could increase the fine to almost $100.

Four tips to mitigate flood loss

The following information was sent by a local resident with four quick tips to mitigate personal losses during times of flooding. Please see below.

1. Develop a flood evacuation plan

Flash floods can occur without a warning, escalating quickly. If you live in a high-risk area prone to flooding, a flood evacuation plan is essential.  Aren’t sure of your risk? Plug in your address on the FEMA site to view a local flood map.

Three questions that are key to your escape plan are:

  • Where you will go? Select a designated location that’s far and high enough away from the risk of rising water. Map multiple routes should one become inaccessible. Consider transportation needs as well as potential road hazards.
  • What you will bring? Build an emergency kit that’s ready to go. It should include flashlights, non-perishable food items, a first aid kit, a list of critical emergency phone numbers and a wireless portable cell phone charger. If you have pets, include them in your evacuation planning too. See FEMA’s guide for pet owners.
  • How will you alert others that you are safe? Communication lines are sometimes disrupted in the wake of storms. Consider a communication plan, should you get separated from loved ones during a flood incident. Prepare a phone tree that outlines who to call and how to regroup.

2. Waterproof to ward off heavy rains

By taking proactive measures around your property, your home will be more flood resistant. Consider the following precautionary steps:

  • Clean storm drains, gutters and downspouts regularly. Keeping these clog-free helps water flow away from your home and protect against water damage.
  • Understand how floodwater drains in your backyard. Know runoff patterns on your property and make adjustments to prevent flooding. Buildup following heavy downpours and inadequate draining can flood not only your basement, but your neighbor’s as well.
  • Speaking of basements, keeping yours dry can be next to impossible, especially at times when torrential rains seem endless. Here are two items worth investigating: A sump pump and a sewer-drain back up coverage endorsement to your homeowner’s insurance policy. Both may be wise investments.
    Water back up coverage limits and costs vary by carrier so it’s important to understand what is – and isn’t – covered under this endorsement. It does not cover backup damage caused by flood water. Some insurers offer options for this coverage with a basic endorsement covering major appliances while a broader endorsement extends coverage to finished basements.
  • Elevate heating and cooling/electrical equipment and off the floor. Keep heating, cooling, ventilation and electric essentials off the floor or fully waterproofed to avoid costly repairs or replacements once the water subsides.
  • Stock up on waterproofing supplies. Keep items on hand (in a nearby garage or shed) to help weatherproof your home in case of emergency. Consider items like plywood, hammers, nails, sandbags and plastic sheeting.
  • Keep a running inventory of your possessions. Take pictures/video and keep a descriptive list of your valuables off-premises or use web-based home inventory program. This will be particularly helpful during the claims handling process. Click here for a link to the Ohio Insurance Institute (will get you started)  list of home inventory tools and tips to get started.

3. Invest in flood insurance

Weather is unpredictable. As much as you can prepare, sometimes even the most well devised plan is no match for Mother Nature. In times like this, it pays to be properly insured.

The Insurance Information Institute (@iiiorg) reminds us that flood coverage is not part of standard homeowners, business or renters insurance policies. To ensure protection against direct physical losses associated with flooding, a separate flood insurance policy is necessary.

The following resources can help you determine your home’s risk for flooding and the appropriate coverages to carry:

  • Your insurance company/agent or through the NFIP agent locator program
  • Your lender or bank
  • State/local government such as the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
  • Flood insurance can be purchased for any building located in a community that has qualified for the NFIP. Buildings do not have to be located in a floodplain to be eligible for flood insurance. This includes most Pennsylvania communities.

Premiums are based on your risk of flooding. For details see the NFIP’s flood insurance policy rate information page to estimate coverage costs.

4. Understand flood terminology: Watch vs. warning

The best way to prevent floodwaters from catching you off-guard is to keep an eye on local weather, including short and long-term forecasts.

The National Weather Service (@NWS) categorizes flooding likelihood and severity in four levels. Each carries its own precautionary measures.

Flood advisory–Be aware! A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

  • Flood watch–Be prepared! A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a flooding to occur. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it’s possible.
  • Flood warning–Take action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. Listen to Emergency Alert System messages for weather updates and possible evacuation orders.
  • Flash flood warning–Take action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.

Do you have unclaimed property with Pa. Treasury? Find out!

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury, the department is currently seeking the owners of $2.3 billion in unclaimed property in the Commonwealth.

Each year, Treasury is required to advertise the names and addresses of property owners with unclaimed property valued at more than $250.  These advertisements are required to appear in a general circulation newspaper in the property owner’s last known county of residence.

Given that the names of unclaimed property owners appear only once in the newspaper, individuals are encouraged to visit Treasury’s Unclaimed Property database at or call the Unclaimed Property call center at 1-800-222-2046 for more information about how to recover their property, free of cost. 

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