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In this Email Update:
Argall Report features job creation efforts, economic competitiveness with neighboring states
The Argall Report, my monthly television show, features potential improvements to our state’s economic development strategy and how to expedite job creation efforts.
The half-hour program features a recent bipartisan joint public hearing of the Senate Majority Policy Committee and Senate Democratic Policy Committee that examined Pennsylvania’s burdensome permitting process and lack of economic development incentives compared to neighboring states.
I recently met with a group of business leaders in Berks County who detailed several roadblocks preventing them from creating more jobs and expanding or relocating in Pennsylvania.
The bipartisan discussion provided us with several examples and ideas how state government can work with the private sector to create economic opportunities and grow jobs for local residents.
Job postings now online for Hudson’s Bay Company at their new facility in Schuylkill County
Last week, Governor Wolf announced that more than 200 jobs would be coming to Schuylkill County thanks to the opening of a new Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) facility in Foster Township.
HBC is the parent company of major retailers, including Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th.
Rep. Neal Goodman and I worked closely with the Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) and the governor’s team to bring this major retailer to Highridge Business Park.
Frank Zukas and Brian Hansbury of SEDCO wrote a letter to the editor earlier this week about the project, discussing the team effort that went into bringing these jobs to the county. Read their letter here.
Even though the announcement was just a little over a week ago, Hudson’s Bay Company has started to post openings to their website.
If you or someone you know is interested is searching for a job, you can see HBC’s job postings here.
Dog wardens conducting compliance checks in Berks County next week
According to the Department of Agriculture, dog wardens will be conducting checks for current license and rabies vaccinations in Berks County next week, starting on May 9.
The department says that a license is one of the best ways to track down your dog if you were to become separated.
The law requires dogs three months of age or older must be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. The fee is $6.50 for each spayed or neutered dog and $8.50 for other dogs. Older adults and persons with disabilities may purchase a license for $4.50 or $6.50, depending on if the dog is spayed or neutered.
Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation, plus court costs.
More information can be found at www.licenseyourdogPA.com.
Student government seminar set for next week
Over 100 students from Schuylkill County are scheduled to participate in my upcoming “Senator for a Day” program at Penn State University Schuylkill Campus on Thursday, May 12.
The event helps high school students better understand the legislative process and think critically about some of the real-life issues my colleagues and I face both locally and in Harrisburg.
Each spring, I invite all high schools from Schuylkill County and in the fall, I hold a similar event for Berks County high school students in the 29 th Senatorial District.
Read more about the upcoming event here.
Berks County voters approve local government merger
As we continue our efforts to pass a responsible and balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year, I continue to hear suggestions from local residents on ways we can save valuable tax dollars.
One idea that I continue to hear about locally and statewide is merging school districts and municipalities in an effort to cut costs. Pennsylvania has 500 school districts and over 2,500 municipalities.
While the topic can be controversial, voters in two municipalities decided that it made the most sense to merge local governments, which will lower municipal property tax rates and combine services.
Upper Tulpehocken Township will absorb Strausstown later this year. Read more in the Reading Eagle here. Voters in Upper Tulpehocken Township approved the merger by a vote of 329-113 and the voters in Strausstown approved the measure by an overwhelmingly favorable vote of 98-6.
Mergers are not limited to only governments and school districts – it can also extend to benefits and purchasing power. For example, I’m currently pursuing a plan to merge school district health care and prescription drug plans into a statewide plan. A report released late last year showed that this could save over $200 million annually.
Telephone town hall meeting next week!
Another friendly reminder that I will be holding a telephone town hall meeting with local residents on Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m.
More information can be found here.
I will send out more information in a separate email update soon! Stay tuned!
The Senate is scheduled to convene on Monday, May 9 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and view the voting calendar on my website.