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In this Email Update:
House rejects governor’s tax increases
The House of Representatives rejected the governor’s tax plan on Wednesday which would place a $1.4 billion income tax hike on Pennsylvania’s citizens and implement the highest severance tax in the nation on the natural gas industry.
The governor’s plan was rejected by a vote of 127 to 73. All Republican House members voted against the proposal, as well as the following Democratic members: Representatives Burns (Cambria); Gibbons (Beaver, Butler and Lawrence); Harhai (Westmoreland); Kotik (Allegheny); Mahoney (Fayette and Somerset); Matzie (Allegheny and Beaver); Petrarca (Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland); Sainato (Lawrence); Snyder (Fayette, Greene and Washington).
The defeat of this plan is a strong indication that both Republican and Democratic members of the legislature strongly oppose the governor’s proposed tax increases.
As we mark Day 101 of the budget impasse, I hope that we can now move quickly to pass a budget plan that will provide funding for our schools and the state’s programs and services that are struggling to stay afloat, without the governor’s proposed tax increases – despite his threats to veto additional budget bills.
On Wednesday, leaders of the House of Representatives spoke about the defeat of this plan and what lies ahead as we move forward with budget negotiations. Watch their news conference here.
Of special interest to me were Speaker Turzai’s comments regarding the need to encourage good-paying jobs in the natural gas industry to locate here in Pennsylvania, rather than in other states.
The question that needs to be asked is, now that the governor’s plan has been shot down on a strong bipartisan vote, will he be willing to look at an education funding plan that has proven, bipartisan support: Senate Bill 76, which would eliminate our unfair and archaic property tax system.
Perhaps the governor should read a joint letter to the editor Senators Boscola, Browne, Scavello, Schwank, Yudichak and I wrote.
Governor’s approval ratings take a hit
According to the latest poll from Quinnipiac University, 44 percent of Pennsylvania’s voters disapprove of the governor’s job performance, while 41 percent approve. This is the first time the university’s poll results have shown the governor’s approval rating plummeting into the negatives since he has taken office.
This latest polling indicates the governor’s approval rating has been moving downward since mid-June, prior to his budget vetoes. In June, the governor’s approval-disapproval rating was 47-32 percent, and on August 25 it was at 45-39 percent.
Despite the House’s bipartisan dismissal of the governor’s tax increase plan, the governor was reported saying, “I’m not taking anything off the table.”
It will be interesting to see how the governor’s approval rating fares as we continue to negotiate on a budget.
Majority of Pennsylvanians disapprove of Attorney General’s job performance
In the latest Quinnipiac University poll, 52 percent of Pennsylvania’s voters disapprove of Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s job performance, while 24 percent approve. Forty-six percent of voters also think Attorney General Kane should resign from her position, while 32 percent think she shouldn’t. In August, her disapproval-approval rating was at 54-20 percent in terms of job performance, and 49-27 percent for the calling of her resignation. This issue is likely to be the subject of considerable Senate attention in the future.
Career opportunities with the Pennsylvania State Police
The Pennsylvania State Police Recruitment and Special Services Section will be holding a “Come Get to Know Us Day” at their training academy located at 175 East Hersheypark Drive, Hershey on October 24th from noon until 4 p.m.
This event will provide information to citizens interested in becoming a State Police Trooper, Liquor Enforcement Officer, Motor Carrier Enforcement Officer and Police Communications Officer. Attendees will also be able to tour the training academy, view Physical Readiness Testing (PRT) demonstrations, and listen to presentations regarding how to become a State Trooper.
To learn more about the event contact Tpr. Aaron Hunt at 717-409-4317 or Cpl. Dan Gonzalez at 717-671-7563. For more information about recruitment, please click here.
“Honoring Our Veterans” plates for motorcycles
Pennsylvania’s motorcyclists can now show their support for our veterans by purchasing an “Honoring Our Veterans” special fund registration plate which was authorized by Act 17 of 2015.
The plate is available for purchase at a cost of $35, with $15 from each sale going towards the Veterans’ Trust Fund which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The Veterans’ Trust Fund provides funding and support for the state’s veterans and their families.
In order for motorcycle owners to apply for a plate they must complete and submit Form MV-914, “Application for Honoring Our Veterans Special Fund Registration Plate,” which can be accessed on PennDOT’s website here.
Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology Community Service Award
I was recently presented with the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology’s 2015 Community Service Award.
I applaud and commend the PAO for their unwavering commitment to providing citizens with quality medical eye care and treatment, and I am proud to be a part of their efforts in promoting and advocating for ophthalmologic medicine in Pennsylvania.