Sep. 08, 2017

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Introducing the Taxpayers’ Budget

Click Here to Watch

After seven weeks of diligent work to find an alternative to the Senate’s plan to raise taxes on every Pennsylvanian, I joined a group of my fellow House Republicans on Tuesday to release details of the Taxpayers’ Budget – an effort to fund the 2017-18 budget WITHOUT the need to do the following:
• Add two new taxes on your natural gas consumption.
• Increase taxes on your electric and telephone (cell and landline) bills.
• Borrow more than $1.2 billion.
This plan is the result of a comprehensive examination of the state budget, during which we discovered taxpayer dollars stowed away and sitting idle in special government accounts with high, unused balances. Some of the 218 accounts we inspected are dormant and have not been drawn down in recent years. Tapping these accounts is not a new concept.

The conclusion of this long process is that there appears to be sufficient resources in the special accounts to close out the deficit carried over from the 2016-17 budget, balance this year’s budget AND balance next year's budget. We also have proposed enough funding options to create a surplus for this fiscal year and next.

The outcome of our work is a plan that would fund the budget while protecting taxpayers. This plan does not include borrowing money, nor would it raise taxes on natural gas, electric and telephone bills, which would hurt every taxpayer in the state.

This coming week, the state House is expected to consider our plan. While the Taxpayers’ Budget is the product of rank-and-file members, it comes with the endorsement of our leadership team.

If you were not able to watch Tuesday’s news conference on my website, please click here to view a recording of it.

You may also click here to view a detailed explanation of the Taxpayers’ Budget.

Honoring the Life and Works of Cardinal Keeler

I formally presented Bishop Ronald W. Gainer, Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg with a citation from the House of Representatives honoring and celebrating the life of Cardinal William H. Keeler.
Cardinal Keeler, a native of Lebanon, was called to the priesthood at an early age, and was widely known for forging strong relationships with other religious denominations, particularly Jews and Protestants.

My resolution was unanimously adopted by the House.

Bonus Available to Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans
Veterans who served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, are reminded to apply for the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus.

The bonus pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000.

To qualify, the service member must have:
• Served with the U.S. Armed Forces, a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Pennsylvania National Guard.
• Served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations during the period from Aug. 2, 1990, to Aug. 31, 1991, and received the Southwest Asia Service Medal.
• Been a legal resident of Pennsylvania at the time of active duty service.
• Been discharged from active duty under honorable conditions, if not currently on active duty.

Since 2008, more than 9,000 Persian Gulf Conflict veterans have applied for and received a bonus for their war efforts. Individuals who received a bonus or similar compensation from any other state are not eligible for the Pennsylvania program.

The deadline to apply for this one-time payment is Aug. 31, 2018. Click here for more information about how to apply.

Don’t Be Scammed by Skimmers
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is warning consumers to be on the lookout for credit or debit card skimmers that steal your information when the card is swiped or inserted.

Often combined with a concealed camera, thieves can also record your Personal Identification Number (PIN). With this information, thieves can withdraw money from your bank account and make unauthorized purchases. Additionally, the thieves may sell this information to others.

To help protect yourself, take the following steps:
• Use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations and avoid using ATMs that are stand-alone units in corners of stores or other out-of-the-way locations.
• Look at the card reader slot and surrounding areas to see if anything looks out of place, mismatched or loose.
• Consider using your credit card instead of your debit card to avoid compromising your PIN and to gain other consumer protections.
• Choose gas pumps that are closer to and within the line of vision of the cashiers.
• Check your bank and credit card statements frequently to watch for fraudulent activity and report any unfamiliar activity immediately.

Read more here.

Never Forget the Victims of Sept. 11, 2001

This Monday will mark the 16th anniversary of one of the worst days in our nation’s history. On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 men and women were killed in devastating terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The loved ones lost will be honored and remembered in observances across the country, including one at Pennsylvania’s own Flight 93 Memorial, near the site where one of the three planes hijacked that day crashed.

More information about the Flight 93 Memorial and planned observances is available here.
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