Jul. 17, 2019

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The Ryan Report 
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Governor Signs My National Guard Parity Bill into Law

I am pleased to report that Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law my bill to equalize the pay received by members of the Pennsylvania National Guard to that which is received by their U.S. military counterparts. This is tremendous news for our National Guard troops and a parity that has been a long time coming.

This new law requires that pay for deputy adjutant generals and general officers in command positions permanently employed by the Commonwealth be equivalent to the federal military base pay. In addition to specifying the eligibility requirements and conditions for the pay increase, this new law also determines how the cost-of-living adjustment is to be calculated.

The reason this is important is because the Pennsylvania National Guard adjutant general and uniformed deputy adjutant generals earn significantly less than their active duty counterparts, though they maintain the same military standards and comparable senior executive responsibilities.

This is important because it helps close a very distressful chapter in our nation’s history in which National Guard and reserve forces were not treated with parity to their active-duty counterparts. Due to the total force concept currently in place, Reserve and National Guard forces are an integral part of our nation’s military forces and have served with distinction since the founding of our nation.

My Yes Vote on State Budget Tied to New Fiscal Controls
As many of you know, I am very concerned with Pennsylvania’s financial future – it is the main reason I chose to seek public office. I voted “yes” on the 2019-20 state budget, but only because I have put forward a series of spending and borrowing controls.

In my life before politics, I developed financial rescue plans for businesses that had fallen into bankruptcy or were headed there. The first thing one does in such a circumstance is determine how money is being spent and where it is being spent.

For this, we need stricter auditing standards as reflected in my House Bills 985 and 1203. These measures would ensure that audits conducted by state agencies, state departments and municipalities be carried out by personnel trained and certified to do so. It would also require personnel to participate in ongoing training and education to ensure they are up to date on the latest auditing standards and techniques.

My House Bill 320 would place severe restrictions on the use of interest-rate management agreements, also known as “swaps.” Quite simply, swaps are a form of gambling with public funds that can lead to financial disaster and must be restricted in their use. Under my bill, such swaps would require prior approval from the Department of Community and Economic Development and automatically be subject to audit by the auditor general.

Pennsylvania families must live within their means. When the economy shifts cycles, as it regularly does, they must adjust their spending and savings patterns. My Lean Government legislation would require that all state agencies be subject to an initial performance audit conducted by an experienced auditor. Agencies which may benefit from further scrutiny would be subject to additional audits every three years. All state agencies must respond to their audit and implement the lean process principles in order to analyze and improve their operations.

Appointed to PSERS Board
I have been appointed the majority member to the board of the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) for the 2019-20 Legislative Session of the General Assembly. I take this appointment very seriously because records show that the PSERS fund has an unfunded liability of $48 billion. To put that into perspective, the 2019-20 state budget that was just enacted totals $33.9 billion. I am very concerned what this means to the property owners who pay the property taxes that fund our schools. Accordingly, I have written to the Pennsylvania auditor general inquiring what would happen to taxpayers should a school district go bankrupt and/or be unable to pay its bills. Who bears the liability in such a case?

The PSERS board, consisting of 15 members, is an independent administrative board of the Commonwealth. The members of the board have a fiduciary duty to the members of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System regarding the investments and disbursements of moneys of the fund. The members of the board, as trustees of the retirement fund, have exclusive control and management of the fund and full power to invest the fund.

Anyone who knows me understands my deep concern for the financial well-being of the Commonwealth and properly managing our pension commitments is a large part of the equation. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board, and PSERS Director Glen Grell, who shares my commitment to fiscal stability.

                               Stormwater Issues
I had an outstanding meeting with Dawn Blauch, code enforcement officer for South Londonderry Township, on stormwater management issues.

There is a problem in state and federal regulations in which some stormwater management systems are the individual property owner’s responsibility and others are the municipality’s. This creates a conflict that is not easily settled.
In my discussions the following items came to mind. I would appreciate your input on these thoughts.

1. The fact that every home in a development has its own stormwater system and that some homeowners have retention, detention, wetland and storm management easements leads me to believe that the disclosure of liability/responsibility to homeowners and prospective homeowners may need to be improved.
2. It seems that the stormwater requirements for homeowners must be clarified to ensure that they understand more clearly exactly what their responsibilities are. Specific care must also be taken to advise homeowners of relative costs as well.
3. It makes sense that easements, retention, detention and wetlands that are part of a storm management system should be eligible for the same grants as would a municipality under similar situations.
4. Some accommodation must be made for homeowners who are not physically or financially able to maintain a storm water system so they are not put out of their own home.

I would love your feedback relative to these issues. Please email me at fryan@pahousegop.com.

Route 422 Sinkhole - Your Comments Help!
Last Friday, I had some tremendously productive meetings today at North Londonderry Township and discussions with PennDOT about the sinkhole issues and Route 422. Many thanks to Ron Fouche.

PennDOT District 8 has been doing a tremendous job making sure that the solution is a true long-term fix. Also, due to a suggestion from one of many of you who write me on this issue, expect some modifications to the traffic light at Route 422 and Apple Blossom shortly. Someone suggested retiming the light to alleviate some congestion issues and the PennDOT folks agreed. They do listen to your comments.

PennDOT indicated that there will be a more formal release of information in the coming days as they analyze all the data. So, stay tuned for further developments in the weeks ahead on all the issues.

Lebanon Area Fair
County fair season is upon us and the always fantastic Lebanon Area Fair opens this Saturday, July 20, and runs through Saturday, July 27. The fair features a terrific lineup of family-friendly concerts, performers and track-side entertainment for all to enjoy. It was first held in 1957 and has continued to grow and expand for 50 years.

Fair schedule for opening day:

*No Saving Seats for Track Events Before Gates Open at 5 p.m.

7-9 a.m. - Enter Indoor Exhibits (West Hall).
8 a.m. - 4-H Horse Show (Horse Ring).
8:30 a.m. - Lebanon Area Fair 5K Fun Run/Walk.
10 a.m. - Open Rabbit/Cavy Show.
10 a.m. - Open Poultry Show.
10 a.m. - Lebanon Area Fair and Special Olympics Car Show.
Noon - Eudora Farms Interactive Zoo and Camel Rides (Midway).
1 p.m. - Amusement Rides Open (Midway).
1:30 p.m. - Fair Queen Interviews and Speech Contest (Ag Center).
2 p.m. - Kid’s Pedal Tractor Pull (Signup 1:30 p.m.) (North Hall).
4 p.m. - Main Exhibition Hall Opens (West Hall).
4 p.m. - Dusty Aleman (Pavilion).
5 p.m. - Fair Queen Coronation and Announcement of Scholarship Recipients (North Hall).
5, 7, 9 p.m. - Pork Chop Revue (Midway).
6:30, 7:30, 8:30 p.m. - Chris Ivey (Midway).
6:45 p.m. - Opening Ceremony (Main Stage).
7 p.m. - Sounds of Charles Lee (Pavilion).
7 p.m. - 4X4 Truck and Semi Pull (Admission $6) (Track).
7 p.m. - Pentagon (Main Stage).

Click here for a full list of each day’s events.
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1044 East Main Street, Palmyra, PA 17078 | Phone: (717)838-3823
149A East Wing, PO Box 202101 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2101 | (717) 783-1815
Email Address: FRyan@pahousegop.com