Oct. 20, 2017

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

“Welcome Home” Vietnam Veterans Event
We will be holding a “Welcome Home Celebration” honoring Vietnam veterans on Friday, Nov. 10, from 2 - 4 p.m. The event will be held at the Palmyra Area Middle School auditorium, 50 W. Cherry St., Palmyra.

Congress has created special lapel pins on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War to recognize United States military veterans who served during the conflict in Southeast Asia. Many communities across America are holding 50th Anniversary events to thank and honor the men and women who served.

These days, Americans stop and thank veterans for their service when they see them in line at the post office or run into them at a ball game, but many Vietnam veterans did not experience the same kind of thanks and respect when they returned. Getting back to a normal life into their communities was a real struggle for some and we want to give these veterans the recognition many of them never received.

My event seeks to honor United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location of service.

The event is open only to residents of the 101st District. The 101st District includes the boroughs of Cornwall, Mount Gretna and Palmyra; and the townships of North Cornwall, North Londonderry, South Annville, South Londonderry and West Cornwall; and the City of Lebanon.

Veterans who wish to be part of the ceremony, be recognized and be presented with a lapel pin must RSVP in advance at RepFrankRyan.com or call (717) 838-3823.

Federal Reserve Owes PA Over $20 billion from Misguided Policies
The House State Government Committee Tuesday approved legislation I authored, House Resolution 522, that would require the state Treasury to lobby the federal government to retrieve monies lost due to reckless U.S. Federal Reserve policies since 2008.

The Federal Reserve’s relentless and unwarranted use of quantitative easing after the housing bubble collapse 2008 resulted in reduced returns on government bonds. In Pennsylvania’s case, the loss on bond returns in the past nine years is over $20 billion, and that money should be refunded to Pennsylvania’s taxpayers. Financial entities have a fiduciary duty to their clients and the Federal Reserve failed in this regard and should be required to make restitution.

Quantitative easing (QE) is a drastic measure used by the Federal Reserve to inject liquidity into a collapsing economy where interest rates are already close to zero, in order to arrest it from free-falling into a downward spiral of economic contraction. However, such drastic action should never be used for such a prolonged time or it will create a stock market that rockets sky high with no actual capital investment or production of goods to back it up.

The fact is, that Pennsylvania’s $76 billion unfunded pension liability would only be around $20 billion dollars lower if QE hadn't been used so aggressively and for so long.

The Federal Reserve is not a government organization and it cannot claim sovereign immunity from the financial destruction caused by its use of QE. I keep trying to wake folks up to the fact that our state is close to fiscal insolvency such as what occurred in Illinois and Detroit. We've got some real dangerous financial issues facing us shortly, and if this thing goes haywire, we'll never be able to pay our liabilities.

House Resolution 522 was reported out of the House State Government Committee by a bipartisan vote of 15-8.

Gov. Wolf’s Vetoes Welfare Reform
On Thursday, Gov. Wolf vetoed a commonsense welfare reform measure that passed both the House and the Senate with strong support. The legislation, part of the Human Services Code contained in House Bill 59, merely required able-bodies adults who are receiving welfare to work or at least fulfill the job search requirements that would show they are looking for a job.
Minors, pregnant women, the elderly, and disabled individuals would all have been exempt from this new requirement. The reason for the policy was to ensure that we have a stable Medicaid system in Pennsylvania and to secure it for current recipients and future generations. The governor’s actions have now put that at risk.

Follow Me on Facebook!
I am very active on social media travelling around the 101st District attending municipal and school board meetings and meeting with constituents. I provide good information and post a lot of pictures too. You can follow me at facebook.com/RepFrankRyan.

A Vote on Nov. 7 Toward Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion
A vote on an amendment to the homestead/farmstead property tax exclusion provision of the state constitution will occur on Nov. 7 – less than 3 weeks away! The best part of this is it allows the people to decide by voting on a question that will appear on the General Election ballot.

If the question is approved, the current homestead/farmstead property tax exclusion in the state Constitution will be increased to 100 percent of assessed value. The governor’s signature is not required with a constitutional amendment.

If the voters approve amending the Constitution, the General Assembly will need to amend Act 1 accordingly.

Implementation of supporting legislation – i.e. amending Act 1 – could be a measure such as House Bill 76 or Senate Bill 76, which would allow the removal of property tax on homestead/farmsteads and provide revenue from options like sales tax, Earned Income Tax or Personal Income Tax to make up the difference.
One challenge that we face in Harrisburg is how will we secure the more than $14 billion needed for total property tax elimination? Another issue is paying off the schools debt and how long homeowners would be paying property taxes after elimination to pay for that debt?

We need options that will allow us to move forward with property tax elimination. Allowing for a homestead/farmstead exclusion changes the amount needed to almost half, roughly $7 billion, and would allow for property tax to be eliminated almost immediately. However, without the constitutional amendment any option calling for the removal of property tax from just a homestead/farmstead is not possible. This constitutional amendment gives us another option in the fight against property tax.

This is an important vote. It is very difficult to get a question on the ballot to amend the state Constitution. The same bill had to be passed in both the House and the Senate in two consecutive sessions. So, this is a big opportunity to be able to move forward on protecting our homes.

House Passes Revenue Plan to Help Close Out Budget
In seeking to close out the 2017-18 state budget process, the House this week voted on part of a revenue package to finish funding the 2016-17 fiscal year and maintain operations for the current fiscal year.

I did not vote in favor of this measure because it essentially uses the Tobacco Settlement Fund to borrow $1.5 billion over 20 years. I can’t support more borrowing when we should be cutting spending and/or using the reserve money held in administration slush funds that the Taxpayer Caucus, of which I am a member, identified in its budget plan several weeks ago.

The measure passed this week, House Bill 542 would raise the bulk of revenue needed to close the budget gap by securitizing the Tobacco Settlement Fund, ensuring third-party online sellers remit the sales tax and applying the sales tax to fireworks. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Additional measures still need to be passed on gaming reforms and reinvesting excessive balances from dormant state funds, and the fiscal code bill to finalize the budget package.

House Republicans have been focused on standing up for taxpayers, first by successfully passing a spending plan that spent much less than the governor proposed, and now by approving a revenue plan without any broad-based taxes to further burden individuals, families and employers.

Improving Education at All Levels
As part of the Public School Code portion of the 2017-18 budget package, the House passed several important initiatives designed to enhance curriculum and improve the educational process.

Changes to overall kindergarten through 12th-grade education include delaying the implementation of the Keystone Exam as a graduation requirement until the 2019-20 school year; prohibiting “lunch shaming” to ensure all students have access to school lunches; adding opioid abuse and prevention education to drug and alcohol abuse curriculum and enhancing agriculture education offerings; and increasing the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) by $10 million to $135 million.

To help with public school administration, changes are also being sought to require training for new members of a school’s governing body and to allow a school to furlough teachers for economic reasons and basing those decisions on performance, rather than seniority.

The legislation now heads back to the Senate for concurrence.

Got Expired Drugs? Dispose of Them Safely on Oct. 28
To help keep prescription medications out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with local law enforcement, will hold a prescription take-back event in our area on Saturday, Oct. 28. This event allows residents to drop off unwanted or expired prescription medications free of charge for safe and convenient disposal.

Use this link to find where you can drop their medications off.

Several communities in our area also have permanent collection sites. Click here for those
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Office Locations
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